(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "American folk sculpture, the work of eighteenth and nineteenth century craftsmen, exhibited October 20, 1931 to January 31, 1932"

\- <wt, 






-^ 



■ 



art, stx 



NK 805N4 
American folk sculpture, 



3 'US 





DDbEflDID 3 



oo 
o 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://archive.org/details/amerfolksculOOnewa 



/ 








No. 18. PREACHER. CALLED HENRY WARD BEECHER 

Wood. Height. 21 ! : inches 






AMERICAN 
FOLK SCULPTURE 



THE WORK OF 

EIGHTEENTH AND NINETEENTH CENTURY 

CRAFTSMEN 



EXHIBITED OCTOBER 20, 1931 

to 

JANUARY 31, 1932 



THE NEWARK MUSEUM 

NEWARK, N.J. 

1931 



7N 



NEWARK MUSEUM 

OFFICERS, 1931 

Arthur F. Egner, President 
Louis Bamberger, Vice President 
J. H. Bacheller, Vice President 
Franklin Conklin, Jr., Vice President 
Louis Bamberger, Treasurer 



Beatrice Winser, Secretary and Director 
Alice W. Kendall, Assistant Secretary 
and Assistant Director 



NOTE 

This exhibition of folk sculpture, so-called, is a further develop- 
ment of the interest John Cotton Dana long felt in the evidence 
of skill in craftsmanship and design to be found in America. The 
forerunner of this exhibit, American Primitive paintings, shown 
in the Museum last year, aroused the interest not only of students 
of early America but that of artists and art critics. 

Holger Cahill was largely instrumental in collecting the 
objects in the exhibit, aided by members of the Museum staff. 
The rather difficult installation of the exhibit, which has brought 
much favorable comment, was made by Katherine Coffey and 
Margaret Jarden. 

The Catalog of the Sculpture and accompanying notes were 
written by Elinor Robinson. 

The Museum wishes to thank the artists and collectors who 
have helped in assembling this exhibition: 

American Antiquarian Society, American Folk Art Gallery, 
Mr. Joel Barber, Mrs. Lillian W. Boschen of The O'Cro'Coc' 
House, Freehold, N. J., Mr. Francis D. Brinton, West Chester, 
Pa., Miss Dorothy L. Brown of The Kettle and Crane, Boscawen, 
New Hampshire, Mr. Ralph Warren Burnham, Ipswich, Mass., 
Mr. Holger Cahill, Mr. M. A. Chase, Mr. Louis J. Clark, Nan- 
tucket, Mass., Mr. John J. Cunningham, Jr., Mr. Carl C. Dau- 
terman, Mr. Charles Dauterman, Mrs. Beryl De Mott, Mr. Albert 
Duveen, Mrs. Hannah Erwin, Mrs. William T. Forbes, Mr. and 



6 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

Mrs. Harold Fowler, The Free Library of Philadelphia, Mr. 
Wood Gaylor, Mr. Harrold E. Gillingham, Mrs. B. K. Gold- 
smith, Mrs. Edith G. Halpert, Mr. and Mrs. Stefan Hirsch, Miss 
Margaret Jarden, Mr. Robert Laurent, Mr. William B. Leeds, 
Mr. George McKearin, McKearin's, N. Y. C., Mrs. Charles Min- 
shall, Mrs. Elie Nadelman, Peabody Museum, Salem, Mass., 
Pennsylvania Museum of Art, Mr. C. A. Rogers, Miss Elsa 
Schmid, Mr. Arthur Sewall 2nd, Mr. A. Stainforth of the Bos- 
ton Antique Shop, Mrs. O. N. Steelman, Miss Mabel Tidball, 
Mrs. R. E. Tomlinson, Miss Dorothy Varian, Webster Eisen- 
lohr, Inc., Mrs. G. H. Wilde, Mr. William Zorach. 

Beatrice Winser 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Note 5 

List of Illustrations 8 

Foreword 9 

American Folk Sculpture 13 

WOOD CARVING 23 

Ships' Figureheads 23 

Cigar Store Figures 3 1 

Portraits 38 

Catalog of Weather Vanes of Wood 40 

Catalog of Miscellaneous Objects of Wood 46 

Eagles 48 

Schimmel Carvings 54 

The Pennsylvania Germans 5 6 

Catalog of Other Bird and Animal Carvings 6 1 

Decoy Birds 63 

Toys 68 

WORK IN METAL 71 

Catalog of Metal Weather Vanes 77 

Catalog of Miscellaneous Objects of Metal 8 1 

Firemarks 83 

Iron Stove Plates 8 5 

POTTERY AND PLASTER ORNAMENTS 93 

A NOTE ON STONE CARVING 97 

READING LIST 103 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 
No. 1 8 Preacher. Called Henry Ward Beecher Frontispiece 



No. 1 


Figurehead. Andrew Jackson 


11 


No. 2 


Figurehead. Admiral Perry 


15 


No. 3 


Figurehead. Bust of Girl 


19 


No. 5 


Figurehead. Figure of Woman 


21 


No. 6 


Cigar Store Figure. Lady in Blue 


25 


No. 7 


Cigar Store Figure. French Canadian Trapper 


27 


No. 19 


Bust of Child 


33 


No. 35 


Lady in Chair 


35 


No. 48 


Inn Sign. Large Eagle 


41 


No. 54 


Schimmel Eagle 


43 


No. 57 


Polychrome Rooster 


49 


No. 68 


Black and White Cat 


51 


Nos. 88, 


95 Decoy Birds 


57 


Nos. 75, 


105, 106 Decoy Birds 


59 


No. 122 


Weather Vane. Horse 


73 


No. 124 


Weather Vane. Horse and Jockey 


75 


No. 131 


Weather Vane. Pheasant 


89 


No. 175 


Stove Plate. Cain and Abel 


99 


Nos. 190, 191 Chalk Ware Figures 


101 



FOREWORD 

In November of last year the Newark Museum opened an im- 
portant exhibit of American Primitive Paintings. 

As a logical successor of that collection, the Newark Museum 
now presents, in an exhibit of American Folk Sculpture, an 
even greater revelation of the art that characterized the work 
of many humble and unschooled Americans of former days. 

As charming as the paintings were, we could not persuade 
ourselves entirely that we were viewing an wholly native 
expression of American growth. As Mr. Cahill pointed out in 
his introduction to the catalogue of that exhibit, most of the 
artists represented had no doubt seen originals or reproductions 
of paintings of foreign schools. They were endeavoring in 
their own work to approximate the same effects. 

What is so stimulating about the present exhibit is that we 
have in it a truer and more indigenous expression of the Amer- 
ican artistic sense because of its very absence of pretense and 
importance. 

When the men here represented laid their hands to their 
tasks, whether in the production of a weather vane, a decoy, 
an emblem, or a tradesman's sign, they doubtless did not aspire 
to the rank of painters of portraits and landscapes. They were 
fashioning articles for practical uses. Not being consciously 
engaged upon art, they consulted no guide but nature. The 
high result which they frequently achieved is eloquent of the 
truth of their observation and the reverence and affection with 
which they handled their material. 

Here is another persuasive example of the truth of John 
Cotton Dana's constant assertion that articles of common and 
humble character may well be as significant expressions of Art 
as products of cost and circumstance. 

We may go through the collection almost at random. We 
find a bird or a horse observed so understandingly and rendered 



10 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

with such extraordinary synthesis as to invite comparison with 
examples of antique Chinese art. May we not even find in 
these humble articles an American tradition? 

Some would have us believe that all our Art has come to us 
in ships. This exhibit is a refreshing demonstration that native 
in America there have existed fine observation and handiwork 
even as in the case of like expressions in other countries and 
times. 

Perhaps in these articles also our artists and artisans may find 
the suggestion that they think less of schools, influences and 
precedents, and reflect more on nature and the technical mastery 
of their mediums. 

Arthur F. Egner 




No. 1. FIGUREHEAD. ANDREW JACKSON 
Wood. Height. 1 2 feet 



AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

The sculpture in this exhibition was gathered from public and 
private collections and from dealers' galleries in the states of the 
Atlantic seaboard from Maine to Virginia during the past sum- 
mer. The greater part of it comes from New England and Penn- 
sylvania, which were centers of craftsmanship in the Colonial 
and early American periods. Most of the material is of the 1 9th 
Century, though a number of the exhibits, such as the cast-iron 
stove plates of Pennsylvania, and a few of the weather-vanes 
and figureheads, date as early as the middle of the 18th. 

In selecting exhibits the Museum has stressed esthetic quality 
rather than technical proficiency. It has tried to find objects 
which illustrated not only excellence of craftsmanship — and 
there has always been a good deal of excellent craftsmanship in 
America — but particularly those which have value as sculpture. 
These sculptures were made by anonymous craftsmen and ama- 
teurs, carvers, carpenters, cabinet-makers, shipwrights, black- 
smiths, stonecutters, metal workers, sailors, farmers, and labor- 
ers. The work of these men, as here exhibited, is folk art in 
its truest sense — it is an expression of the common people and 
not an expression of a small cultured class. Folk art usually 
has not much to do with the fashionable art of its period. It 
is never the product of art movements, but comes out of craft 
traditions, plus that personal something of the rare craftsman 
who is an artist by nature if not by training. This art is based 
not on measurements or calculations but on feeling, and it rarely 
fits in with the standards of realism. It goes straight to the 
fundamentals of art — rhythm, design, balance, proportion, 
which the folk artist feels instinctively. 

The sculpture in this exhibition has significance for us as a 
genuine expression of the art spirit of the American people, and 
as a demonstration of the fact that talent has never been lacking 
in America even when opportunities for the study of art 



14 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

techniques have been very limited. There is a remarkable 
variety of personal styles in these carvings and castings, and a 
great deal of vigor and inventiveness even when the technique 
is crude and primitive. It is among objects such as these that 
we must look for the earliest American sculpture, and among 
their makers we may discover sculptural talent of a high order. 

The earliest examples of American sculpture, probably, were 
ships' figureheads and weather vanes. William Rush, who has 
been called our first sculptor, was a carver of figureheads. An- 
other figurehead carver, John Bellamy, of Portsmouth, N. H., 
was undoubtedly one of the most richly endowed American 
sculptural talents of the 1 9th Century. The carvers and moulders 
of weather vanes are impossible to identify. One would like 
to know who made the iron horses, Nos. 122 and 134, the 
pigeon, No. 133, and the horse and driver, No. 135. These are 
folk masterpieces which many a sculptor of great reputation 
would be glad to call his own. More decorative but scarcely 
less interesting sculpturally are the horse, No. 125, and the 
rooster, No. 20. 

Cigar store Indians are probably lineal descendants of the 
figureheads. The unpainted Indian. No. 10, appears to have 
been made by a figurehead carver. Sculpturally, the Indians 
rarely equal the figureheads, but the best of them are carved 
with boldness and simplicity, and when their colors have been 
mellowed by time, as Nos. 1 1 and 12, they are among the most 
interesting examples of American polychromed sculpture. Less 
picturesque than the figureheads and the Indians, but even more 
interesting as the sculptural efforts of the common man, are 
the wildfowl decoys. These were, and still are, made by 
hunters, village whittlers, carpenters, blacksmiths, and profes- 
sional decoy carvers in every section of the United States where 
there is bird hunting. Wildfowl decoys constitute a most 
extensive field for the collector, and they have a special appeal 
for lovers of Americana. Mr. Joel D. Barber is authority for 




No. 2. FIGUREHEAD. ADMIRAL PERRY 
Wood. Height, 34 inches 



AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 17 

the statement that the art of decoy making is indigenous to this 
country and that our first decoy makers got the idea from the 
Indians. Many of the decoys in this exhibition, Nos. 75, 88, 
89, 92, 106 and 107, are folk sculpture of no mean quality. 

The types of American folk sculpture are too many to enum- 
erate here, and no doubt there are many objects of this kind 
which have never seen the light of an exhibition gallery. In 
addition to the objects listed above one may mention carved 
signs and trade symbols, lawn figures, toys, bootjacks, door 
stops, stove plates, hitching posts, the Pennsylvania Dutch 
chalk ware figures, and various kinds of architectural embellish- 
ments for houses and ships. Most of these things were made 
for use, but here and there one finds examples of portrait sculp- 
ture, or a carving which has no apparent basis in utility and 
which was made simply for the pleasure of making it. Exam- 
ples of this type of folk sculpture are the portrait of Henry Ward 
Beecher carved by an Indiana farmer, the girl's portrait carved 
by Alexander Ames, the portrait of the seated woman, No. 35, 
by an anonymous Pennsylvania Dutch carver, the Broncho 
Charlie relief, No. 41, the Hunter and Bird group, No. 69, and 
the crude carvings from the Portsmouth Navy Yard, Nos. 36 
and 37. 

The Pennsylvania animal carvings, Nos. 56, 57, 58 and 60, 
are difficult to classify. Probably they were meant to be toys, 
and if so, they are among the most distinguished toys made in 
this country. The Schimmel carvings, Nos. 53, 54, 55, are 
crude, but there is a power and originality in their very crudeness 
which has made them sought after by American collectors for 
many years. The iron stove plates, Nos. 180, 181, 182 and 
186, are a branch of American folk art practised exclusively by 
the Pennsylvania Dutch. These plates were cast in great number 
in the decades immediately after 1740. The design in the best 
of them is simple and well controlled, and there is a good deal of 
quaintness and humor in the treatment of the subjects, Nos. 



18 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

181 and 186. Another branch of folk art local to Pennsyl- 
vania is that of the chalk ware figures and animals. When these 
are good in design and color, they take their place with the 
best examples of American decorative sculpture in polychrome. 

American folk sculpture has been almost without honor in 
its own country until very recently. Contemporary interest in it 
began with the modern artists who found in this folk expression 
a kinship with their own work, and a proof that there is an 
American tradition in the arts which is as old as the European 
colonization of this country, and which is vital today. A num- 
ber of artists and collectors have been gathering this material 
for some years, not because it is naive, or quaint, or crude, or 
because of its historical associations, but because it has genuine 
sculptural quality, and because they see in it an evidence of the 
enduring vitality of the American tradition. 

The story of American folk sculpture would make one of 
the most fascinating chapters in the history of the arts of design 
in the United States. When this folk art is better known it will 
do much toward giving us a better perspective of American art 
history, and toward creating greater respect for the American 
tradition in the arts. Fine examples of American folk sculpture 
have been gathered by such pioneer collectors as Mr. and Mrs. 
Elie Nadelman for their museum at Riverdale-on-Hudson, and 
by the late Henry Chapman Mercer for his Doylestown (Pa.) 
Museum. Many other collectors have specialized in certain 
items. There are collections of figureheads, Indians, eagles, fire 
marks, etc., but rarely, except in the Nadelman museum and in 
the present exhibition has this material been shown because of 
its sculptural quality and because of its importance in any total 
view of American art. 

HOLGER CAHILL 



■r 



> 












No. 3. FIGUREHEAD. BUST OF GIRL 
Wood. Height, 27 inches 




No. 5. FIGUREHEAD. FIGURE OF WOMAN 
Wood. Height. 5 feet 2 inches 



WOOD CARVING 

SHIPS' FIGUREHEADS 

For centuries prows of wooden ships have been adorned with 
figureheads. The Egyptians decorated the graceful stem-like ends 
of their boats with simple carvings of lotus or water lily leaves. 
Though Chinese and Japanese boats were not apt to have any 
carving, the heads of Chinese junks were often painted with a 
large eye, to prevent collisions. The Greeks and Romans sought to 
please their gods by placing their carved images on galleys, and 
the ships of the Norsemen bore terrifying figures to ward off evil 
spirits and frighten the enemy. The gorgeous European vessels of 
the Renaissance were so loaded with rich carvings that the impor- 
tance of the figure on the prow — generally a lion or dragon or a 
royal personage — was greatly diminished. 18th century figure- 
heads were brilliantly colored like the earlier ones, but in the 1 9th 
century, when the number of commercial vessels increased, the 
figures were less belligerent and quieter in color. 

Most American figureheads now preserved were made in the 
fifties or sixties, the period of the clipper ships, or later. Those 
were the days of success and triumph for Yankee merchants and 
Yankee sailors. In the seacoast towns like Salem and Boston, and 
later New York and Philadelphia, the return to port of a majestic 
clipper ship laden with cargo from the far East or gold from 
Australia, was a great event. Salem was an outstanding example 
of a town whose life centered about the harbor. At the wharves 
were the yards of the shipbuilders and the counting houses of 
the merchants, and nearby stood the storehouses. The homes were 
all close to each other and to the water; often a boat was moored 
almost in the owner's yard. The beautiful things brought back 
on their ships had a marked effect on the taste of the people. 

The men who built these fastest of sailing ships had been 
trained in their youth to habits of thoroughness by the builders 
and carpenters to whom they were apprenticed. Theirs was a 



24 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

respected craft, and one on which the prosperity of the town 
depended. Attached to the yard, or nearby, was the workshop of 
the ship's carver, trained in the same traditions. Like the skipper, 
the owner and the sailor, he felt the spell of these vessels and, stirred 
by visions of the strange seas his creation would cross, he would 
put into it his best. To England, China, Australia and California 
went these great American ships, sometimes alone and sometimes 
in fleets. Many stories are told of the feeling of awe and affection 
with which the sailors regarded the lonely wooden figures which 
went before them on their hard voyages. 

Only a few names of carvers have come down to us. Greatest 
of all was William Rush of Philadelphia, 1756-1833, whose 
work won him orders from English ship owners. The son of a 
ships' carpenter and apprenticed at an early age to a ships' 
carver from London, Rush always considered his business sec- 
ondary, and was more interested in working on wood portrait 
busts and full length figures, some of which were used in the public 
buildings and squares of the city. Typical of the fine type of 
citizen who sometimes worked at ships' carvings was Samuel 
Mclntire, 1757-181 1, the "master carver of Salem", better known 
for his work in architecture and furniture. He was the son of a 
carpenter, and trained in Salem shipyards. He became so respected 
for his skill and good taste that for years no public improvements 
were carried out in Salem without his advice. John Bellamy, for 
many years attached to the Navy Yard of Portsmouth, N. H., 
was a prolific worker. He is represented in the exhibit by three 
eagles probably made to be placed over doorways of ships' cabins. 

The majority of the figureheads, however, were anonymous. 
In America they often represented the ship owner or his wife, 
or a person prominent in public life. The haughty Andrew 
Jackson and the bust of Admiral Perry come under the latter 
classification. Frequently the full length figures leaned out over 
the water, one foot forward, head thrown back and hair blowing, 
as if pushing against a heavy wind. More often than not, the 




No. 6. CIGAR STORE FIGURE. LADY IN BLUE 
Wood. Height, 5 feet 2 inches 




No. 7. CIGAR STORE FIGURE. FRENCH CANADIAN TRAPPER 
Wood. Height, 3 feet 7 inches 



SHIPS' FIGUREHEADS 29 

carver could not overcome a certain woodenness in the expression 
of his figures, but there was generally in them that sturdy, uncom- 
promising quality characteristic of people who know the sea. 

With the passing of wooden ships these figureheads are seen no 
more on the water. Since it was a matter of pride to the captains 
to have their figureheads repainted each year, many of them are 
still preserved in spite of the continual exposure they have had, 
and may now be seen in marine museums and in the gardens or 
galleries of collectors, a reminder of the grandeur of the ships they 
once adorned and of the skill of the men who carved them. The 
Whaling Museum in New Bedford, Mass., and the Peabody 
Museum in Salem have interesting collections of American figure- 
heads; in the private musuem of Mr. and Mrs. Elie Nadelman in 
Riverdale-on-Hudson, N. Y., there are some fine foreign examples. 
There is also a group at India House in New York City, and an 
outstanding figure in the Boston Marine Museum. 

CATALOG OF SHIPS' FIGUREHEADS 

1 . Figurehead of Andrew Jackson. Lent by William B. Leeds. 
See illustration. 

The subject of controversy for over twenty years. According to the cata- 
log of the sale of the Max Williams' Marine Collection, held at the Ander- 
son Galleries in 1928, this figurehead was placed on the Constitution about 
the first of May, 1834. The head was sawed off on the night of July 2, 
1834 while the ship was moored in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Restored 
twenty-seven years later, the figure was exhibited at Willowdale Park, 
Lowell, Mass. Here it remained until 1925 when the estate to which it 
belonged was liquidated. 

There is, however, another figurehead of Andrew Jackson at the 
U. S. Naval Academy about which the same story of decapitation is told, 
and which is said to have been placed on the Constitution in 1834 and 
removed to the Naval Academy in 1870. 

References bearing on the controversy may be found in "The Frigate 
Constitution" by Ira N. Hollis; U. S. Naval Institute Proceedings, Novem- 
ber 1927, pages 1167, XX, 1211-2, 1245-9 and 1250-1, September 
1928, pages XLIX and 776-8, and June 1929, pages 527-8; and "On 
The Decks of Old Ironsides", by Snow & Gosnell. (In press, Macmillan.) 

Remarkable portraiture. Fine deep-set eyes, determined jaw, drawn 
lines about mouth, and haughty carriage all bespeak man of people, — 



30 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

independent, confident, accustomed to working against odds and scornful 
of opinion of others. Bristling hair treated in manner which sets off 
rugged countenance. Slight sweeping motion in folds of great cape adds 
to effect of self possession. 

2. Admiral Perry. Lent by Ralph Warren Burnham. See illus- 
tration. 

Frank, straightforward eyes, well arched brows, firm, self-assured mouth. 
A courageous face with a touch of recklessness and haughty tilt to chin. 
Details of costume and hair well carved. Touches of blue still left on coat. 
Finish of arms and base show academic influence. 

3. Bust of girl. From a boat which sailed on Long Island 
Sound. Found near Bridgeport, Connecticut. From a private 
collection. See illustration. 

Made to pitch forward. Intelligent forehead, straight nose, slightly smiling 
mouth. Heavy hair blown back a little though no attempt, as in some, to 
create effect of strong wind. Utmost simplicity in treatment of dress. 
Impersonal face; from side, almost phlegmatic. Simplicity and calmness 
suggest Greek sculpture. 

4. Sailor boy. From the collection of the late Harold M. Sewall, 
Bath, Maine. 

Solemn and stocky. Wooden expression no doubt increased by recent 
repainting of staring eyes and repairs on nose. Nevertheless simple, modest, 
stalwart and free from self-consciousness. Feeling of power and control in 
jaunty pose with powerful chest thrown out, hands in pockets and one 
leg bent forward. Costume well done. Suggestion of texture in blowing 
red tie and white shirt. Head very thick through. Carrying over of flesh 
tone into area that should belong to bushy beard gives unnaturally square 
jaw. Same tonsorial effect seen in primitive portraits of period. 

5. Small full length figurehead of woman. Late 1 9th century. 
Lent by Louis J. Clark. See illustration. 

Little suggestion of the sea in this dainty lady with long street costume 
and tightly rolled umbrella, but figure of unusual charm and grace. Dis- 
tribution of color very pleasing, with combination of soft grey blue and 
green in hat, skirt and base, and notes of black in hair, girdle, umbrella 
and slippers. Just enough attention given to gathers of white blouse and 
gently blowing folds of blue skirt; reverse curve of slim body rendered with 
grace and restraint. From right, uplifted head and hand on breast make her 
appear tragic; from left she seems determined and courageous. Extreme 
daintiness, as contrasted with heroic size of many figureheads, appealing. 



WOOD CARVING 31 

CIGAR STORE FIGURES 

The origin of the cigar store Indian is connected with the tradi- 
tion of trade signs. In London, when buildings had no numbers 
and there was a large proportion of illiteracy, merchants often 
advertised their wares to the passer-by by means of symbolical 
signs. The three golden balls of the money lender and the beaver 
hat of the hatter were familiar ones. Many Americans will remem- 
ber the sheaf of wheat which until about sixty years ago hung out- 
side the baker's shop, the large tooth before the dentist's office, 
the shears of the cutlery shop and the glove of the glovemaker's. 

Until the great plantations of Virginia and the Indies began 
to send tobacco to England, the English had confined themselves 
to the taking of snuff, sold at apothecary shops. The first tobacco 
shops, which appeared during the reign of Queen Anne, advertised 
themselves by a carved figure resembling a negro rather than an 
Indian, and wearing a kilt of tobacco leaves. The confusion in the 
minds of the sculptors probably resulted from the association of 
the Indian, who smoked tobacco, with the negro who raised it on 
the plantations. Later, statues of the Highlander, the Dutchman, 
and a conventionalized roll of tobacco were used by the English 
trade. 

It was in his native land that the Indian achieved his full glory. 
It is thought that the first ones were made by carvers of figure- 
heads. Later, when the practice became more common, the work 
was taken up by Swiss and German carvers who settled in the mid- 
dle west. 

American cigar store figures are not confined to Indians. Be- 
sides the more usual chiefs and squaws there were Sir Walter 
Raleighs, Lord Dundrearys, Punches, Uncle Sams; and, though a 
perfect lady was not allowed to smoke, wooden ones frequently 
offered cigars to others. They were sometimes designed by the 
carver, and sometimes copied from book illustrations or prints. 
There is an amazing variety of types, and it is seldom that two 



32 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

are found alike. Later in the century cigar store signs were cast 
in metal. 

The greatest vogue for cigar store Indians in this country came 
between 1 850 and 1880. The modern city has gradually crowded 
them from the streets. Perhaps because it appealed less to their 
imagination to carve a commercial sign than to create a figure one 
day to sail the seas, the carvers seldom got into the wooden 
Indians the fine spirited quality of the figureheads. Many of them 
have however a certain stiff vigor and often good distribution 
of color, which makes these typically American carvings worthy 
of attention. 

CATALOG OF CIGAR STORE FIGURES 

6. Lady in blue. Supposed to be Jenny Lind. Lent by Web- 
ster Eisenlohr, Inc. .See illustration. 

Others have called this type Dolly Varden. It has been said that no other 
artist in music or the drama has appealed to men of the sea as did the 
famous "Swedish Nightingale", who lived from 18 20 to 1887. She 
came to this country under the management of P. T. Barnum and in the 
days when swamps almost cut off Battery Park from the rest of Man- 
hattan, she used to sing there to huge audiences in the old Castle Garden. 
Two clipper ships were named for her and one bore a bust of her as a 
figurehead. 

Possibly made by a carver of figureheads. Face more alive than many 
cigar store figures. Slightly lifted skirt reveals beneath carefully scalloped 
petticoat, sturdy calf and high black shoes, elegantly pointed outward. 

7. French Canadian trapper. Found near Stockbridge, Mass. 
From a private collection. See illustration. 

Good portrait of type. Low forehead, narrow eyes and swarthy features. 
Swing of body, quiver on shoulder and rolled blanket pack indicate one 
accustomed to long tramps through forests. Soft greens, with touches of 
yellow and red, good with dark color of skin. Flowing feathers on head 
clashing touch. Left arm restored. 

Probably a familiar figure in early New England when forest hunters 
came to New England "trucking houses" to exchange furs for the white 
man's goods. 

8. Indian squaw with quill. From a private collection. 

Rather masculine face and uncompromising expression. Pose, stepping for- 
ward, and blanket over shoulder, conventions often used. Attempt at 
Indian costume, but in shape of figure and bustle-like back, strongly 




No. 19. BUST OF CHILD 
Wood. Height, 14) 2 inches 




No. 35. LADY IN CHAIR 
Wood. Height. 1 2 inches 



CIGAR STORE FIGURES 37 



influenced by styles then prevalent. Leaves at waist probably a relic of 
English tradition. Deep blue and rose of costume lightened by touches of 
gold in earrings, head band, fringe, garters and moccasins. Right arm and 
quill restored. 

9. Lady in rose and blue. Lent by William Zorach. 

Realistic portrait of lady fashionably and pleasingly dressed. Dark hair, 
deep red lips, and rose behind ear suggest Spanish type. Once wore ear- 
rings. Masculine ears, long nose and slight double chin show no attempt 
to flatter. 

1 0. Archaic Indian figure. Found near Stockbridge, Mass. Lent 
by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

A compact figure; little motion in thick-set body, but great spirit in face. 
Absence of paint emphasizes sculptural qualities. Intensity of primitive 
artist reflected in his work. Wide, eager eyes and pleasantly pursed up 
mouth. Hair carved into block in thin strands rather than standing out 
in solid mass as in later figures. Long, stiff fingers and crisp curve of 
blanket end also more primitive. 

1 1. Small Indian squaw. Found near Rockland, Me. Lent by 
the American Folk Art Gallery. 

Aloof and restrained. Simple areas of greyish colors well divided. Yellow 
blouse and shoes, blue skirt; rose blanket down one side of back, con- 
trasted with yellow and blue dress on other side; fringe and other touches 
of gold. Again, convention of leaves at waist. Simply modeled features 
like white woman's but fierce concentration in eyebrows. 

12. Indian squaw with animal's head. Lent by the American 
Folk Art Gallery. 

Wide, staring eyes and dark skin. Upraised arm, brandishing tobacco leaves 
instead of usual pack of cigars. Costume elaborate; reddish blanket 
roughly hewn at back as were many others. Heavy beads strung on metal 
strand. Animal's head, probably wolf, no doubt intended to represent 
totem of her tribe. 

13. Indian squaw in red and green. Lent by Robert Laurent. 

Definite impression of motion in forward lunge of body and backward 
sweep of robes. Sharp features not Indian in type. Pleasant expression and 
colors pleasing. 

1 3A. Indian squaw in red and black. Found in New York City. 
Lent by Mrs. Elie Nadelman. 

A stocky, quiet figure. Deep colors relieved only by white of face and 
stockings. Penetrating, far-seeing black eyes and arched brows daubed on 
white face. Arms held down at sides, one hand clutching rose and other 
holding box, give figure repose. Great height of three feathers adds dignity. 
Solid Victorian legs and long, black shoes. 



38 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

14. Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines. Gift of Herbert E. 
Ehlers. 

This pompous image of the famous subject of a once popular song, stood 
for half a century outside of Fearey's cigar store at Newark's four corners. 
Definitely a caricature. The sculptor must have worked with his tongue 
in his cheek as he carved the grotesque, Punch-like features, the mustaches 
sweeping to the captain's ears, the narrow black shoes with their heels 
clicked together, and as he exaggerated to the point of the ridiculous, a sol- 
dier's rigid and self satisfied posture. The splendor of his tight fitting 
uniform would be hard to surpass. In his mouth the Captain formerly 
held a cigar. A similar figure, known as a bandmaster, guarded a cigar store 
in Coldwater, Michigan, in 1855. 

15. Small Turk. Lent by the Boston Antique Shop. 

Turks as cigar store signs came into prominence when Turkish tobacco 
and mixtures attained their popularity. This, a careful, sombre portrait 
showing academic influence. Hair treated realistically, earnest features finely 
carved, stubby hand with large-jointed fingers well done. Dignity in pose, 
elbow leaning on short column. 

16. Turk. Made in Monmouth County, N. J. Lent by 
O'Cro'Coc' House. 

Squatty, calm, erect, flat-footed. More colorful and simple in spirit 
than other Turk. No attempt to simulate folds or textures. Flat areas of 
soft primary colors in costume, broken by touches of black in belt, tassel 
of cape, dagger and shoes; rose and blue brought into large turban. Black 
hair painted on. Position of pudgy hands over stomach contributes to air 
of complacency. 

PORTRAITS 

Partly because the Biblical injunction against "graven images" 
caused sculpture to be frowned upon, especially by the Puritans, 
and partly because in a pioneering country such things were con- 
sidered a luxury, almost no sculpture was to be found here before 
the Revolution. The earliest pieces were imported from England 
by wealthy families; plaster casts first, then marbles ordered by 
Anglican families to be placed in churches to commemorate their 
dead, and later contemporary political figures clad in Roman garb. 
Among the earliest native attempts at portraiture are the old, flat 
gravestones on which local stone cutters sometimes chiseled vigor- 
ous if not flattering likenesses of the deceased. Patience Wright, 
a Quaker from Bordentown, N. J., who lived from 1 725 to 1 786, 



PORTRAITS 39 

modeled portraits in wax, but there was so little demand for them 
in her own country, that she finally settled in London where her 
work was more enthusiastically received. William Rush of Phila- 
delphia, who is considered the earliest American sculptor, has 
already been mentioned in connection with figureheads. Besides 
distinguished portrait busts made as figureheads, he did a plaster 
bust of Lafayette and full length wood statues of Washington, 
Penn and Franklin. Samuel Mclntire carved a large medallion 
relief bust of Washington for one of the posts of the entrance gate 
to Salem Common. Coming into prominence a little later than 
painting, from such beginnings American sculpture developed. 
The academic sculptors who followed were strongly influenced 
by classical and contemporary Italian work. 

Though the group of folk portraits in the exhibit is very 
limited, it gives an idea of the individuality of scattered attempts 
at portraiture. The Governor Winthrop is so finished that it 
would hardly be classed as folk sculpture except that it was carved 
by a man who attained to excellence through a thorough ground- 
ing in craftsmanship rather than through academic training. 
Alexander Ames was known only locally, and probably had a 
little training. About the isolated carver of the so-called Beecher 
nothing is known, but he must have been spurred on by a pro- 
found admiration for his subject, so that, in spite of obvious lack 
of knowledge of methods, he infused much of his own simple 
reverence into his work. 

CATALOG OF PORTRAITS 

1 7. Bust of Governor Winthrop. By Samuel Mclntire. Lent by 
the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass. 

Ordered by The Reverend William Bentley of Salem on May 12, 1798, 
and delivered to him on May 21st. Bentley also owned a chalk drawing 
and a miniature of Winthrop painted in England prior to 1630, the year 
when Winthrop came to Salem. Bust supposed to have been copied from 
latter; though face follows miniature closely, ruff is turned down instead 
of up, and coat with buttons is Mclntire's addition. Hence, probably, 
entry in Bentley's diary, "Mr. Maclntire returned to me my Winthrop, 
and I cannot say that he has expressed in the bust anything which agrees 



40 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 



with the Governour." Another difference might have been that whereas 
in other portraits the governor appears to be a hardy looking person, he 
here seems quiet and delicate. 

A finely carved portrait showing great sureness of handling. Intelligent, 
sensitive forehead. Turn of head and high arch of brows give far-away 
look to large, morose eyes. Droop of mustache emphasizes slight droop 
of small mouth. Pointed beard adds to length of thin face. Fine growth 
over drawn cheeks. Treatment of hair unusual — top brushed back roughly 
over crown of head, back hanging straight to shoulders. Ruff carefully 
done, arms and shoulders finished in simple, classical style. Well pro- 
portioned base. 

18. Preacher. Called Henry Ward Beecher. Found in an Indiana 
farmhouse. From a private collection. See Frontispiece. 

With simplest and crudest means sculptor has achieved by the earnestness of 
his attempt, a remarkably vital figure. Sharp outline of flowing hair 
frames a face stern, determined, uplifted. Tiny straight hands clutch 
huge Bible from which spirit seems to draw strength. Absolute stillness 
of body, and curve of shoulders tend to concentrate interest on head. 
Figure seems complete in spite of lack of legs. Arms with loose sleeves are 
separate pieces applied. 

19. Head of child. 1847. By Alexander Ames. Lent by John 
J. Cunningham, Jr. See illustration. 

Carved and polychromed oak. One of three portraits of sisters by same 
man, about whom little is known except that he worked around Buffalo, 
New York, between 1 846 and 1 850. One portrait now owned by Albright 
Art Gallery of Buffalo, another by the Museum at Fitchburg, Massachu- 
setts. 

Very similar in spirit to best of primitive paintings of children. Like 
painted children, erect and eager. Finely dotted lashes make wide brown 
eyes a little staring. Affability especially apparent in expression around 
mouth. Gathers of rose dress, set into plain yoke, carefully done. Hair 
brushed sleekly back of ears, then springing out in six pert, fat curls. 

CATALOG OF WEATHER VANES OF WOOD 

20. Stylized rooster. From Portsmouth, N. H. From a private 
collection. 

Individual conventions show contrast between soft down of head and breast 
and heavier feathers of wings and tail. Strong decorative feeling in down- 
ward sweep of wing feathers and luxuriant spreading tail. Head and small 
pieces of tail and wing restored. 

21. Farmer. From Blue Mountain, Pa. Formerly sat astride 
iron pheasant, No. 130. From a private collection. 

Long face with large sharp features like work of child. Dogged expression 
from front; rugged profile. Interest in details. Tin brim to hat; shirt and 
collar indicated; pockets on overalls; heels and stirrups on boots. 




No. 48. INN SIGN. LARGE EAGLE 
Wood. Height. 4 feet 7 inches; wing spread, 3 feet 8 inches 




No. 54. SCHIMMEL EAGLE 

One of group of eight Schimmel carvings 

Wood. Height, 20 inches; wing spread, 28% inches 



WEATHER VANES OF WOOD 45 

22. Red and white cock. From Pottstown, Pa. From a private 
collection. 

Long thin neck as if stretched to crow. Painted thumb tacks for eyes. 
Simple summing up of outstanding features. Two solid red pieces, painted 
with wavy streaks, make each wing. Solid white tail with streaks of red 
and serrated edge to suggest feathers. 

23. Dachshund. Found near Rockland, Me. Lent by C. A. 
Rogers. 

Silhouette with no attempt at carving on body except suggestion of ribs. 
Low, slightly curving line of head, back, and tail gives effect of motion. 
Not straining hard. One leg of lead so that body will swing. 

24. Soldier. Lent by C. A. Rogers. 

Very crude. Eyes like slits, low brows, thin straight mouth and pirate- 
like hat cocked at angle, give him hard cynical air. 

25. Sailor in boat. Lent by C. A. Rogers. 

Like work of child or primitive man in simple development of forms. 
Shape of head repeated for body. One arched piece for hips and legs. Two 
dimensional except for realistic sou'wester hat which shoots out in back 
beyond body. 

26. Man with high hat. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

Haughty gentleman with long statesman-like nose and strange, large ears 
scooped from back of head. Like many primitive portraits head largest 
because most interesting to artist; steadily diminishing scale from head 
down. No attempt to carve costume, but tin high hat and coat tails fastened 
at waist are elegant touches. 

27. Large man in frock coat. Lent by Miss Elsa Schmid. 

Swarthy complexion, uncomfortably square shoulders. In profile, fore- 
head and lower lip protrude, leaving flat area between. Dressed in best soft 
hat, frock coat and trousers with braid. 

28. Axe grinders. From the firehouse of the Union Fire Com- 
pany, Chambersburg, Pa. Lent by Albert Duveen. 

Jointed bodies which move when wheel is in motion. Leather coats and 
felt trousers. All working in deadly earnest. 

29. Strutting rooster. Lent by Albert Duveen. 

Stained pine silhouette. Vigorous curves of breast and arched tail. A few 
broad reddish strokes indicate breast wings and tail feathers. Angle of 
long, wide legs adds to air of extreme independence. 

30. Trotting horse, painted red and green. Lent by Mrs. B. K. 
Goldsmith. 

Silhouette. Good understanding of subject. Fairly heavy but graceful 
animal. Curves of legs and nearness to ground give easy motion. Bar 



46 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 



uncomfortably near knees. Difficulty with perspective causes unnatural 
doubling under of legs on far side, but rather decorative feeling in result. 
Stiff, fluted mane and tail. 

CATALOG OF MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS 

31. Barroom figure. From Maine. Lent by Robert Laurent. 

Gleaming white eyeballs and intensity of whole little figure would frighten 
anyone into buying the enormous grapes which he offers so forcibly. 
Jaunty costume rendered without too much attention to detail. 

32. Gilded and plastered wood figure of girl. Found near East- 
port, Me. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

Lovely, quiet figure. Dreamy look in heavy eyes; mouth small and demure 
but warm. Wavy hair soft and heavy. Knowing, visionary expression is 
emphasized by size of head, large for body. Gentleness in small, droop- 
ing shoulders, and right arm, pointing upward. As if warning or admon- 
ishing with hand, but too far away to speak. Feeling for round forms. 
Held together by direction of left arm. Rich, decorative treatment of 
drapery at base. Whole figure has great repose, but more warmth and less 
energy and self-assurance than most American work. Though found in 
Maine, American origin questioned. Flemish or German feeling in propor- 
tions of narrow shoulders and waist, large breasts and full hips. Possibly 
by German carver who settled in Maine. Original use unknown. Looks 
as if made for side of doorway. 

33. Head of bird. Supposed to be the mythical roc. Billet head 
from ship. Found near Rockland, Me. Lent by the Ameri- 
can Folk Art Gallery. 

Horizontal lines give illusion of straining against strong wind. 

34. Full length figure of girl. Lent by the Boston Antique Shop. 

A certain heavy wistful attractiveness, but little vitality. Good, simple 
treatment of drapery, and feeling of body beneath. Traces of former gild- 
ing show through present grey paint. 

35. Lady in chair. Found near Ephrata, Pa. From a private 
collection. See illustration. 

Intelligent forehead, wide bright eyes with lashes carefully painted. Rosy 
cheeks and round face like German Christmas angels. Sharp nose and 
determined chin of capable, amiable housewife. Solid mass of wavy hair 
beautifully stylized. Looks as if missing forearm had met other in similar 
position. Seated, erect, in simple country chair. With admirable thorough- 
ness artist has even rendered from back, white-stockinged, red-gartered legs. 
Feeling of bulk in square masses of bosom and lap. Carved and colored 
diagonals of dress trimming make extremely decorative figure. See note 
on work of Pennsylvania Germans. 



MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS 47 

36. Two sailors, carved in the Portsmouth Navy Yard. The 
larger is said to be Admiral Dewey. From a private collec- 
tion. 

Crude but sturdy attempts at portraiture. Probably done by. sailors during 
idle hours. Imposing mustaches; amusing, scroll-like ears; removable hats. 

37. Two figures of women, carved in the Portsmouth Navy 
Yard. From a private collection. 

Made from old mahogany, possibly parts of ships' cabins. May have been 
copied from coarse ladies tattooed on the bodies of sailors. 

38. Pipe figure. Found near Pottstown, Pa. From a private 
collection. 

This and three accompanying grotesque figures from period of Godey's 
Lady's Book. Hats form bowls of pipes, stems fit into bodies. All show- 
deftness of handling and biting, satirical wit more sophisticated than other 
carvings. If made in this country, probably by carvers trained abroad. 

39. Pipe figure. Found near Portsmouth, N. H. From a private 
collection. See No. 38. 

40. Pair of pipe figures. Found near Boston, Mass. From a 
private collection. See No. 38. 

41. Relief scene. "Broncho Charlie". Lent by Mrs. Beryl 
De Mott. 

Dramatic fight between frontiersman and Indian, crudely carved and 
painted in warm, soft colors on old pine. At lower right printed "Bronco 
Charlie, His Last Shot". Excited horse back of Indian most successful part. 

42. Arm from military figure which once stood on the estate of 
"Lord Timothy Dexter" in Newburyport, Mass. Lent by 
The Kettle and Crane Antique Shop. 

Timothy Dexter, 1747-1806, was an illiterate man who, by sheer luck, 
acquired a large fortune after the Revolution. In middle age, having an 
unbalanced sense of his own importance, he built an elaborate home, on 
the grounds of which stood numerous triumphal arches crowned with 
life-sized wooden figures. Above the arch immediately in front of the 
entrance were effigies of Washington, Adams and Jefferson. There were 
military figures, lions and lambs — over fifty carvings in all. Their owner 
traveled about in a coach drawn by a span of cream colored horses, and he 
took to himself the title of "Lord Dexter" impelled, so he wrote, "by the 
voice of the people at large". An engraving in Newburyport shows the 
house in all its glory, but though its story is known all over New England, 
it seems impossible to find anything but fragments of the statues which 
once adorned it. 



48 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

43. Cane with closed fist handle. Lent by The Kettle and Crane 
Antique Shop. 

Spiral carving of stem suggests work of furniture maker. 

44. Small figure of woman. Found near Gloucester, Mass. Gift 
of Miss Mabel Tidball. 

Broad, capable, calm. Hands clasped over breast. Simple costume. 

45. Wood star with relief of Washington's head. Lent by C. A. 
Rogers. 

46. Anchor. Probably carved by sailor for ship's decoration. 
Lent by C. A. Rogers. 

47. Crude carving of man. Lent by Holger Cahill. 

EAGLES 

When Washington, the newly elected president, made his first 
triumphal tour of the young republic, it is said that he was greeted 
on every hand by painted and carved images of the eagle, just 
adopted as the national emblem. For the next fifty years it con- 
tinued to be one of the most popular motives in American decora- 
tion. Transparencies shone at windows of public buildings and 
even ladies' fans and men's buttons were ornamented with them. 
Great, powerful eagles spread their wings at the prows and sterns 
of vessels as figureheads and counterboards; smaller ones were 
used as billet heads and over cabin doorways. On land they were 
seen finely carved and gilded over the entrances of prosperous look- 
ing houses or cast in brass as knockers; inside the houses daintier 
versions decorated furniture, china and even woven coverlets. 

CATALOG OF EAGLES 

48. Large eagle. Formerly used as a sign for an inn near Paw- 
tucket, R. I. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. See 
illustration. 

Balancing, with head and neck pulling forward, powerful lowered wings 
straining, huge feet clutching ball. Beak wide open, eyes fierce, as if in 
effort to hold position. Regular, stylized, overlapping treatment of feathers 
very decorative; resembles metal. Like foreign armorial bird. Perpendicular 




HMHMHHSHnMINnHm 



No. 5 7. POLYCHROME ROOSTER 
Wood. Height. 10'-; inches 




No. 68. BLACK AND WHITE CAT 
Wood. Length, 121: inches 



EAGLES 53 



outside lines of wings and long tail effective. Holes through breast where 
rods formerly held in place above doorway. Must have appeared even 
more formidable from original lofty location. 

49. Young eagle. Found in Connecticut. Lent by the American 
Folk Art Gallery. 

Small head, rounded beak, long neck like that of fledgling. Rugged but 
amiable bird. As with many others, tail stiff and square. Rose, blue, gold 
and green blended into warm, dull effect. Fine divisions of feathers indi- 
cated by scratches in rough wood. 

50. Three eagles. Said to have been carved by John Bellamy, 
1836-1914, for a long time carver of figureheads for the 
Portsmouth Navy Yard. From a private collection. 

Bellamy, last of the famous wood carvers of that section, was a resident 
of Kittery Point, Maine, just over the New Hampshire line, where his 
father owned the old Sir William Pepperill mansion. He began work at 
Portsmouth during the Civil War, making figureheads for all the warships 
built there at that period. He is best known for his eagles, having made 
large ones as figureheads, and smaller ones to be placed over doorways on 
ships and public buildings. He was a prolific worker, and carved many 
birds of the type here shown. 

Difference in quality of each in spite of similar general characteristics 
as adapting of design to narrow strip; delicate, simplified stylization of 
feathers; comparatively straight edge of left wing feathers contrasted with 
sharp, uneven arrangement of those at right. White one most successful: 
free, rhythmical sweep to top line of wings; tragic, lonely feeling in lift of 
head and look of eye. Putty colored bird has some of this feeling but less 
poignant, perhaps because throat line is not so long. One of mahogany 
with short, thick neck has ugly air; less wildness in straighter wings, though 
carving of head is very good. 

5 1 . Small painted wood eagle. Lent by Charles Dauterman. 

Said to have been carved by a Civil War patient and given to Surgeon 
Jeweson in token of admiration. Realistic. 

52. Large black and white eagle. Lent by M. A. Chase. 

Powerful, round, undecorated body. Wing feathers simply suggested. 
White head and tail feathers especially good. 

Among the Schimmel carvings described in the following note 
are also several eagles. 



54 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

SCHIMMEL CARVINGS 

Schimmcl was a Pennsylvania German of uncertain date who was 
wounded in battle and afterwards traveled about the state carv- 
ing sturdy toys and ornaments in return for his board. He chose 
as subjects, eagles, large and small, roosters, dogs, and sometimes 
more ambitious groups such as an amusing Adam and Eve or 
scenes like the hunter and birds, No. 69. 

To show differences in surface he employed devices which made 
for a highly individual style. On all of the eagles the breast 
feathers are indicated by diagonal carvings which give a raised, 
diamond effect, and the rows of jagged feathers on their wide 
spread wings stand out in sharp relief. They are generally painted 
a warm, dark tone, sometimes brightened with dots or splashes 
of a lighter color on the breast, the wing feathers often outlined 
with a contrasting shade. Some of them are varnished, others 
have a flat finish. In spite of similar treatment, there is individual- 
ity in each bird. A group of three large eagles includes one of 
shiny black, with a thick powerful neck and strong elongated 
toes. He has an ugly expression. One of light tan stretching his 
long neck, looks young and gawky. No. 54, see illustration. The 
smaller one between them is more nervous; his breast is decorated 
with spots of red and yellow instead of the diagonal carvings. 
In the two latter the rough carving is continued into the feet. 

There is personality, too, in the smaller birds. With a telling 
twist in their awkward necks he makes them look angry and scorn- 
ful as do the small one of mahogany, and the larger of the parrots, 
No. 54; or wondering and surprised as the energetic little eagle 
perched on the green block of spiky flowers. The stiff legs of the 
two parrots are particularly good, and the flare of the tail of the 
larger one touching the ground and curving out like a lady's 
ruffled skirt, is very decorative. Even in the smallest there is 
energy and an air of readiness to be off. 

The Schimmel roosters are stockier and much less graceful than 



SCHIMMEL CARVINGS 55 

the "Pennsylvania pine", see No. 63. They have a certain saucy 
brightness and charm, but their bodies are small and stiff, their 
wings short and legs long, and their stubby tails, carved in the 
third dimension, are far less elegant than the fan-like plane of the 
others. About the large rooster, No. 55, there is a general look of 
unhappiness in the eye and hunched up body, which has none of 
the play of curves of the other type. His long legs and huge feet 
are similar to those of the eagles. His fluffy plumed tail, however, 
though very short is rather decorative from the back. 

The coats of the dogs are suggested with the same diagonal lines 
as the feathers of the birds. Two hunting dogs with clipped backs 
are sniffing the trail, their noses pointed and their short tails stiff 
and attentive, their long legs with big paws snapped back. 
Schimmel seems to have been particularly successful in catching the 
unconscious alertness of young animals. 

Probably especially exciting for children was the little painted 
tiger with the great dog-like head, who fairly grins with the bliss 
of holding in his huge teeth a stiff and utterly helpless little man. 
To them this wandering carver must have been a welcome guest, 
and no doubt their elders too enjoyed watching his vigorous ani- 
mals emerge from the wood. 

Though lacking the grace or subtlety which characterize other 
Pennsylvania carvings, they have instead a certain blatant vitality, 
and an equally keen, though more crudely rendered understanding 
of animals. Even more than the others he kept to his own devices 
rather than attempting naturalism. Recent appreciation of his 
work has led to general, and probably not always accurate, appli- 
cation of his name to this style of carving. 

CATALOG OF SCHIMMEL CARVINGS 

53. Fourteen Schimmel carvings. From a private collection. 

54. Eight Schimmel carvings. Lent by McKearin's. See illus. 

55. Large Schimmel rooster. Lent by the American Folk Art 
Gallery. 



56 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

THE PENNSYLVANIA GERMANS 
The folk products of this country have naturally been greatly en- 
riched from time to time by the infusion of new blood from other 
countries. Strongest of all was the influence of the Pennsylvania 
Germans. Bringing with them a fondness for fresh color, a natural 
and robust instinct for design, and thorough traditions of work- 
manship, there is an unmistakable individuality — gay, solid, 
honest — about everything they produced. It is seen in their 
painted bride boxes and chests, in the bright fractur paintings with 
which they recorded births and marriages, in the colored tiles, and 
in their plaster cottage ornaments and iron stoveplates. See sec- 
tions on these subjects. 

As with the work of many foreign peasants, two outstanding 
characteristics reflected in their decoration are their closeness to 
the soil, and their deeply religious nature. In the stoveplates 
especially is the latter apparent; among the plaster ornaments, 
shrines and angels were popular subjects, and the fractur paintings 
were often embellished with the sprightliest of angels. Their 
fondness for the tulip in decoration is seen in these pictures and 
in the decoration of furniture, pottery and cast iron. 

With a background of centuries of farming in the old country, 
and of hard experience in the new, where their lives were so 
bound up with the live stock they cared for, the German settlers 
had a deep-rooted understanding of animals which few artists 
today are fortunate enough to possess. The result, at the hands of 
craftsmen endowed with ease of handling material and a strong 
decorative sense, was an unconscious stylization which conveyed 
the spirit of the animal without being too realistic. Certain con- 
ventions turn up again and again in these carvings. In portraying 
both horses and roosters, two subjects most often chosen, the 
heads and tails almost always curve slightly in the same direction, 
giving them quiet poise and grace, and bringing out characteristic 
muscular motions. Many of the horses are in a similar pose, quiet 
but alert, with necks arched, noses in, one hind leg a little lifted, 






DECOY BIRDS 
No. 88. Wild Swan. Length, 33': inches 
No. 95. Sea Loon. Length, 25 1 : inches 





DECOY BIRDS 



No. 105. Pigeon. Length. 19 1 : inches 

No. 106. Loon. Length. 11 inches 

No. 75. Sleeping Black Duck. Length. 15 1 : inches 



BIRD AND ANIMAL CARVINGS 61 

tail carved in one piece with the other leg. And often there is a 
subtle interplay of planes in the tilted, fan-like tails and the curved 
bodies of the stiff-legged roosters which are so characteristic of 
this district that they are known as "Pennsylvania pine". Rarely 
do the crudest versions lack grace and a living quality. Nervous 
curves in the bodies of small birds suggest quick, light motion, and 
now and then there is a glimpse of humor in a gay and unrealistic 
fat bird. 

These people expected things surrounding them to be decorative 
as well as practical, and the great number who tried their hand at 
some kind of creative work were not set apart as a special class. 
This attitude must have developed widespread aesthetic discrimi- 
nation, affording a type of enjoyment which mass production 
methods have gradually taken away from the working people. 

Most of the birds and animals in the following group were 
made by Pennsylvania Germans. 

CATALOG OF OTHER BIRD AND ANIMAL CARVINGS 

56. Horse. From Pennsylvania. Lent by Mrs. Edith Halpert. 
Similar to No. 58, but a little stiffer and less mature looking. Shorter 
body, neck and chest less developed, legs long and not so well shaped. 
Playful tilt of head. Both horses have carved and painted waving manes, 
and painted red saddle cloths. 

57. Polychrome rooster. From Pennsylvania. Lent by the Ameri- 
can Folk Art Gallery. See illustration. 

Carver simplified and improvised on decorative attributes of roosters, 
making fine piece of design and still bringing out essential spirit of subject. 
One of most subtle and effective figures in exhibit. Restrained, sinuous 
curves of neck, breast and body contrasted with slanting plane of elaborate 
tail, give elegant motion. Different simple devices indicate breast, wing 
and tail feathers. Similar conventions in base. Steps peacock-like to dis- 
play to best advantage from every position splendor of tail, which spreads 
nearly to his haughty head and down to ground. Contour of separate 
carved feathers conform to large right angle. Irregular surfaces of dull 
yellow, orange and black suggest, without attempting to be true to life, 
sheen of roosters' feathers. Air of supreme assurance. 

58. Horse. From Pennsylvania. Lent by the American Folk Art 
Gallery. 

Stately, massive, patient. Great ease of bearing. Good arch to thick neck, 
nose in, head turned a little to right in same direction as powerful hind 



62 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 



quarters. Convention of slightly raised hind leg, and heavy sweeping tail 
carved with other leg. Interesting contrast to dashing horses of metal 
weather vanes. In spite of stillness, feeling of unlimited latent energy. 

59. Round painted bird. Lent by the American Folk Art Gal- 
lery. 

60. Small horse and cow. From Pennsylvania. Lent by the 
American Folk Art Gallery. 

Same conventions of pose as No. 56 and No. 58, but less suggestion of 
muscles of body. Remarkable contrast in contours between tense, alert 
spirit of horse and relaxed, sagging pose of cow. 

61. Small dog. From Pennsylvania. Lent by O'Cro'Coc' House. 

62. Two birds. Lent by O'Cro'Coc' House. 

The tiny yellow bird is attributed to John Lahn who lived at Hammer 
Creek Meeting House, Pennsylvania, from 1796-1890. Keen interpre- 
tation of motion. 

63. Five Pennsylvania pine roosters. Lent by C. A. Rogers. 

Style of rooster known as "Pennsylvania pine". Heads with large combs 
turned to one side, wings simply indicated; large fan-like tails, generally 
carved in one piece and fluted to suggest feathers, are set at angle to bodies. 
Polychrome rooster, No. 57, is finest and most elaborate attempt, but even 
simplest has grace and spirit. 

64. Painted pigeon. From a private collection. 

Perky pigeon decorated with raised paint. Red and black tulip on breast 
similar to one on shaped blue pedestal. 

65. Small spotted dog. From a private collection. 

66. Miniature rooster and hen. From a private collection. 

67 '. Pair of dappled horses. From Portsmouth, N. H. From a 
private collection. 

Simpler and more conventional than Pennsylvania horses. More like later 
mechanical toys. Good lines for backs, necks and noses; straight bellies. 
stiff legs. Heads very narrow from front, giving expression of sorrow and 
wonder. Amusing, but none of sculptural quality of No. 56 and No. 58. 
On gaily flowered platform. 

68. Black and white cat. From Pennsylvania. Toy or doorstop. 
Lent by Francis D. Brinton. See illustration. 

Synthetic interpretation very like modern work. No eyes. One listens for 
purrs coming from squatting, relaxed body with black tail curled con- 
tentedly around it. Sufficient unto himself. 



BIRD AND ANIMAL CARVINGS 63 

69. Hunter and bird scene. Lent by Mr. and Mrs. Harold Fowler. 

Smooth carving, mellow colors, varnished. Simply laid out. Hunter 
beaming as he sees prey. Dog attentive, nose pointed, leg raised. Fowl, 
separated from him by brush and still unconscious of fate, intent on devour- 
ing three large seeds. Variety of good poses as each, standing on stick legs, 
strains to get something for himself. 

70. Maple bird. Lent by Mrs. Edith Halpert. 

Continuous, flowing outline; bulbous forms of neck and body, with 
smooth, yellowish varnished surface give slippery, wet appearance. 

7 1 . Small bird. Carved by the donor's grandfather. Gift of Mrs. 
Hannah Erwin. 

Dainty. Nervous. 

72. Birds on tree. Found in Pennsylvania. Lent by Holger 
Cahill. 

Good interpretation of quick twitches of slim bodies. 

73. Barnyard scene. Found near Providence, R. I. Owned by the 
Museum. 

Whittled by old resident of Wakefield, R. I., to fit into cigar box. Utter 
disregard of comparative proportions of man, barn and animals; evident 
delight in working out details, as horns of cow, and perky ears and curling 
tails of piglets. 

74. Small painted pigeon. Lent by Miss Dorothy Varian. 

74A. Rooster. Found in Manchester, N. H. Lent by Mrs. G. H. 
Wilde. 

Similar to conventions of so-called Pennsylvania pine roosters. Has been 
suggested that fine lines carved in fan-shaped tail were conscious imitation 
of underside of mushroom. 

74B. Large lamb. Found near Marblehead, Mass. Lent by Mrs. 
R. E. Tomlinson. 



DECOY BIRDS 

Decoy birds are indigenous to this country, having been used here 
by the Indians long before the white man came. Besides actually 
making likenesses of birds, the Indians used dead birds or stuffed 
skins. The colonists took over Indian methods of hunting, using 
carved decoys. 



64 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

These birds were and still are made by hunters, blacksmiths, 
carpenters, village whittlers and professional decoy makers in 
every section of the country where there is bird hunting. Mr. 
Joel Barber has listed over sixty varieties of birds which these 
anonymous carvers have portrayed, among them duck, loon, goose, 
plover, rail and snipe. In this vicinity, Barnegat Bay and parts of 
Long Island and the New England coast have yielded many inter- 
esting examples. Some were made to float on the water and lure 
their live counterparts within shooting range; "stick-ups", placed 
on shore to deceive land birds, are so called from the fact that they 
are "stuck up" on pegs which fit into holes in their bodies. Though 
the birds vary greatly in type and workmanship, they give in 
common a living impression of the smooth motion of water birds, 
and the alert, jerky poise of those which live on shore. 

Some are very primitive interpretations. Outstanding in this 
class is the arrogant black loon in the group numbered 98 which 
looks like an African carving, its tall neck haughtily pulled back, 
its bill and breast confidently shooting forward. The loon, No. 
106, with its flat, boat-like body, unrealistic silver tail with ser- 
rated edge, and quick turn of the neck, is another. The flat white 
eider duck, No. 86, with bold black border and face markings, 
gives a remarkable impression of resting quietly on the water. In 
spite of its crudeness, No. 103, with bent nail legs has a feeling 
of throbbing life in its round body, and the contour of the spike 
bill curlew, No. 92, with bill curving sharply downward, is dec- 
orative. The large, alert stick-up pigeon, No. 105, has a self- 
sufficient look in his round human eye, and the haughty sweep of 
his wing. Others less crude are still synthetic versions; an effective 
one is the long, flat sea loon, No. 95, with a sharp, flat head, 
smooth black and white breast. And in spite of their knob heads 
and lack of bills, the two stick-ups, No. 93 and No. 9 6 A, have 
a bird-like quality very modern in spirit. 

The majority however are more realistic. The curved bodies 
of some of the larger birds appear to sail slowly, their pointed tails 



DECOY BIRDS 65 

rising slanting from the water like the keel of a ship. This is 
noticeable in the Canada goose decoy, No. 76, and the black goose 
in the group numbered 98. The maker of the wild white swan, 
No. 88, has caught the aloof elegance associated with the swan. 
The pose of the white winged coot, No. 87, is decorative, his bill 
resting on his breast and giving a graceful arch to his neck. The 
bodies of some of the ducks are squat and comfortable, their heads 
drawn back and breasts pushing easily ahead; others have a com- 
pact, torpedo-like form. Most of them have the effect of effortless 
gliding, though No. 81, No. 82 and No. 83, are straining for- 
ward. One of the loveliest of all is the brown sheldrake, No. 83, 
almost Japanese in feeling, its slender head shot forward, a quick, 
darting motion in its body. No. 8 1 has some of this quality, and 
its smooth, gleaming surface and mellow colors are particularly 
pleasing; likewise No. 80. 

Two miniature ducks, No. 107, on small oval wood bases, 
merit attention. Delicate lines of dashes indicate their feathers 
and give a wet look to their simple but perfect greenish bodies. 

It is significant that these birds are made purely for utilitarian 
purposes by plain working people. They are one of the few forms 
of our folk expression which has survived the machine age, for 
though factories have taken up their manufacture for large sport- 
ing goods stores, many isolated whittlers still continue to carve 
them. As free from self consciousness as the birds they copy, they 
often attain by their sensitive response to action they have watched 
so often, results which many a modern sculptor would justly 
envy. 

Wood decoys are now also used in France, and to some extent 
in England. 



66 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

CATALOG OF DECOY BIRDS 
From the Joel Barber Collection: 

75. Sleeping black duck. Connecticut coast. Lent by Tom 
Davis. See illustration. 

76. Typical Canada goose decoy. Barnegat Bay, N. J. White 
Cedar. Hollow. 

77. Brant drake. Barnegat Bay, N. J. 

78. Black duck. Barnegat Bay, N. J. Maker's own model for 
species. 

79. Very old black duck. Barnegat Bay, N. J. Body designed 
to receive bird skin. 

80. Pin tail drake. Delaware Bay. Courtesy of John Blair, Jr. 

81. Sheldrake. Great South Bay. Late fall plumage. Pine- 
knot head. 

82. Labrador gull. Copague, Long Island. Used in spring 
brant shooting. Anchored with decoys as additional sign 
of safety. 

83. Swimming sheldrake. Great South Bay. Cedar head. 

84. Sheldrake. Great South Bay. Wing coverts. 

85. Ruddy duck. In original condition. 

86. Eider duck. Monhegan Island, Me. Male plumage. 

87. White winged coot. Monhegan Island, Me. Deep sea decoy. 

88. Wild swan. Havre de Grace, Md. A very rare example of 
an old swan decoy. See illustration. 

89. Yellowlegs. Snipe. Bayhead, N. J. 

90. Yellowlegs. Snipe. Made in Newark for use on the Jersey 
meadows. 

91. Snipe. Made at Canarsie, L. I., for use on Jamaica Bay. 
Courtesy of Capt. John Whitaker. 



DECOY BIRDS 67 

92. Spike bill curlew. Charleston, S. C. Old decoy found 
under unoccupied house on island off Charleston. 

93. Oversize yellowlegs. Snipe. Great South Bay. Courtesy 
of Percy Cushing. 

94. Sheldrake. N.J. 

95. Sea loon. Coast of Maine. See illustration. 

96. Eight decoy heads. 

96A. Yellowlegs. Snipe. Nantucket, Mass. 



97. Black breasted plover. Lent by M. A. Chase. 

98. Six decoy ducks. Lent by M. A. Chase. 

99. Snipe decoy and small bird. Lent by M. A. Chase. 

1 00. Female broadbill. Lent by Wood Gaylor. 

101. Black mallard. Factory made. Lent by Stefan Hirsch. 

102. Plover. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

103. Decoy bird. Lent by Holger Cahill. 

104. Eider duck. Male plumage. Nova Scotia. Lent by Miss 
Margaret Jarden. 

1 05. Alleged weather vane. Probably used as stick-up for plum- 
age hunters. Lent by Mrs. Edith G. Halpert. See illustra- 
tion. 

1 06. Loon with silver tail. Head and neck made from root. From 
a private collection. See illustration. 

MINIATURE DECOYS 

107. Two miniature ducks. From a private collection. 

108. Two ducks and one swan. Lent by Holger Cahill. 

109. Three ducks. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. 



68 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

TOYS 

The few toys here exhibited are of a simple type. They are the 
work of the German settlers of Pennsylvania, who had made toys 
in the old country, and of the wood carvers of New England vil- 
lages who, as they gradually grew away from Puritan intolerance, 
found in the making of sleds, rocking horses, dancing dolls and 
carts, a remunerative sideline. Many of the Noah's Arks and 
dancing dolls are attributed to negroes. On some toys much time 
and care were lavished. One Noah's Ark in this country holds 
fifty-five animals, including insects, butterflies and lady bugs. 
High-minded parents sometimes gave their children special "Sun- 
day Toys" intended to drive home an appropriate moral to sen- 
sitive young minds. The Essex Institute in Salem has a delight- 
ful collection of more finished early toys. 

CATALOG OF TOYS 

110. Part of a set of ninepins. From Pennsylvania. LentbyHol- 
ger Cahill. 

Caricatures. All have self-satisfied smirk which would make their many 
undignified falls look unexpected and ridiculous. 

111. Small negro doll. From a private collection. 

112. Hobby horse rocker. Found near Bangor, Maine. Lent by 
Holger Cahill. 

Two red silhouette horses with high-backed seat between. Small formal 
heads turned slightly outwards, arched necks wide at base. Plain round 
legs set at jaunty angle to haughtily held bodies. Flare of rockers good 
culmination for design. Paint entirely rubbed from heads by small 
hands which have clutched them. 

113. Jointed negro doll. From Pennsylvania. Lent by Holger 
Cahill. 

Possibly carved by a negro. Good portrayal of negro type in smooth, 
round head, squat features, white eyeballs, heavy lips. Square shoulders, 
broad chest, stiff torso but joints so flexible that he seems about to break 
into a dance. Worn toes of boots bear witness to hard use. 

114. Revolutionary soldier. Lent by the American Folk Art 
Gallery. 

Delightful caricature of pompous type. Arched brows over large black 
eyes set in still larger whites give worried, tired look. From side, reced- 



TOYS 69 



ing gums make profile insignificant. Effort to look military, with rigid 
carriage and chin pulled in, is made ridiculous by coat collar standing out 
from neck in back, and foolish looking plume on top of hat. Holds 
sword in one of straight, thin, swinging arms. Incongruity of staring, 
wistful expression and immobile manly pose must have been the more 
amusing when arms were in motion. Mellow color, smooth surface. 
Stands on drum-like base. 

115. Balancing man. Lent by Holger Cahill. 

Takes performance seriously. Fully conscious of dignity in stovepipe 
hat and black coat. Crude torso, with tiny stumps, stands on gilded 
pedestal which gives illusion of long legs. When mounted, bows stiffly 
and repeatedly. 

116. Jumping toy. From a private collection. 

117. Hobby horse. From Doylestown, Pa. Lent by Mrs. Edith 
G. Halpert. 

Painted red with streaks of black to suggest hair. Spirited mount. Brass 
thumb tack in center of each perfectly round eye gives wild expression; 
large nostrils snorting, and mouth open as if champing at bit. Good 
curve to neck, flat legs conventionalized to suggest shape of horses'. 
From front, narrow face with black spots around eyes, and folded 
leather ears sticking out sideways, looks positively furious. Braced as if 
about to express emotions in hearty kick with one of stiff legs. Painted 
mane, thin hair tail. English saddle with real stirrups. Greenish black 
platform and rockers. 

118. Hobby horse. From Pottstown, Pa. Lent by the American 
Folk Art Gallery. 

Built on same general style as red hobby, but cruder with less definite 
shapes. Long, narrow body stained tan with circular touches of red, 
yellow and green on saddle and horse alike. Sleepy, almond-shaped eyes, 
leather ears missing, closed mouth drooping, legs similar to those of 
No. 1 1 7 but less determined. Limp forelock. Resigned attitude of relia- 
ble and willing but very tired horse. Remains of carpet cloth saddle with 
high wood ends. Grey hair tail. 

119. Hobby horse. From Ephrata, Pa. Lent by Holger Cahill. 

Probably made by a chair-maker. Least attempt at realism. Black, log- 
shaped body put together with wooden pegs, simple turned chair legs 
with stretcher. Towering neck must have given great sense of security 
to rider. Short head with deep curving cheekbone and thin throat. 
Planes of head simply carved. Joining of neck to body interesting. 
Placing of legs near together, with body extending on either side gives 
pitching motion. From front, angular effect, with white streak on nose 
in otherwise black figure, tall column of neck and round cross section of 
body suggests African carving. Leather ears. Hole at back probably once 
held tail. 



70 



AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 



120. 



121. 



Hobby horse. Lent by Mrs. Elie Nadelman. 

Gay, compact hobby, spatter painted. Jaunty head and tail added to 
solid pieces which form body and rockers. Though legs not represented, 
crisply curving ends of rockers give impression of great activity. Thin, 
bird-like face almost smiling, protruding eyes, short ears. Solid, flaring, 
shortly cropped wood tail. Sides worn where feet of former riders have 
rested on wood peg stirrups. 



Jointed horse. Lent by Mrs. G. H. Wilde. 

Friendly but wary. Legs move like those of metal horses. From front, 
wide, determined mouth suggests stubborn moments. 

121 A. Punch and Judy. Jumping toy. Found in Freehold, N. J. 
Lent by Mrs. R. E. Tomlinson. 



WORK IN METAL 

Iron furnaces were established in most of the colonies soon after 
their settlement. Governor Winthrop was interested in the first 
in Massachusetts; in Pennsylvania the work received its first im- 
petus under William Penn; and in Virginia, Governor Spotswood, 
and Augustine Washington, father of the General, were connected 
with the industry. Forges were generally located near the fur- 
naces. And throughout the colonies, the smith who wrought the 
products of the furnaces into useful shapes, was an invaluable and 
respected member of every community. 

Objects were both wrought and cast in iron, and fine examples 
of andirons, candlesticks, knockers and hinges were turned out by 
the local artisans. Pieces made from sheet iron could be cut or 
wrought into the desired shape by the smith, and the silhouetted 
weather vanes were probably made by him. Figures were cast in 
the round by the sand mold process which is still in use in foun- 
dries today. For the molds original patterns had to be carved in 
wood. 

Almost nothing is known about pattern carvers. In the case of 
the Pennsylvania German stoveplates, see Contents for section on 
Stove Plates, it has been found that pattern carvers from Germany 
sometimes settled here to do the work, and that one carver would 
sell patterns to different furnaces. It is to these anonymous carvers 
however, that we owe the vigorous designs of these cast iron 
weather vanes and other figures. 

Many weather vanes were made in the 1 9th century from sheet 
metal. Some like the gull, No. 1 23, the pigeon, No. 133, the crow- 
ing cock, No. 136, and Liberty, No. 137, were hammered by 
copper- or tinsmiths. The first three mentioned were made of 
small pieces soldered together. When many of the same type were 
desired, dies were made from a wood pattern, and the main body 
of the vanes stamped out and soldered together. Finishing touches 
were added by hand. When, for the sake of balance, it was neces- 



11 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

sary to make animals' heads in iron or lead, the head was cut from 
the original wood pattern and sent to a foundry to be cast. When 
Currier and Ives were publishing prints of famous racing horses, 
makers of weather vanes copied horses from the prints. Some of 
them were so like their live models that enthusiastic horsemen 
could recognize them. The manufacturer sometimes added jockeys 
and sulkies. No. 135, No. 140, and No. 146 were made from 
Currier and Ives prints. 

Large deer and lions so prevalent in Victorian gardens were not 
included in the exhibit since most of them were made in England. 

Eberlein and McClure, in the introduction to their Practical 
Book of Early American Arts and Crafts, state that every part of 
this country settled before the third decade of the 1 9th century had 
some share in the early craft development, which gave it cause for 
proper local pride. And that this work, being of the people and 
for them, is truly a folk art. The anonymous smiths and pattern 
makers who designed metal figures, like the makers of decoys, 
interpreted animals in a variety of ways, according to their 
medium, their individual aptness in handling it, their sensitive- 
ness, and their contact with outside influences. Some of the ani- 
mals they made are quiet, in characteristic poses; others are full of 
motion. Some are silhouettes, some in low relief, and others 
round. Regardless of the skill which went into their making, they 
have in common a feeling of freedom, as if they belonged in the 
wind and the sun, and a sturdiness which would be undisturbed 
by snow and rain. Their makers showed a sense of fitness in their 
choice of subject, and, like the carvers of figureheads though less 
assuming, they were no doubt spurred on to do a lively piece of 
work by the thought of its final commanding position against the 
sky. 

James Truslow Adams, discussing the art of the colonies in his 
Provincial Society, points out that though in the early days 
there were perhaps fewer flowers at the top, the roots were prob- 
ably deeper in the soil than they are today, and he goes on to 




No. 12 2. WEATHER VANE. HORSE 
Cast Iron. Height. 18 inches 




No. 124. WEATHER VANE. HORSE AND JOCKEY 
Stamped copper. Height. \7 l /2 inches 



METAL WEATHER VANES 77 

remark on the vitality of any movement which has its roots in the 
life of the common people. These simple 1 9th century weather 
vanes are an example of that vitality still holding its own in out 
of the way places while the fine arts were beginning to flourish 
in the cities. 

CATALOG OF METAL WEATHER VANES 

122. Formal horse. Cast iron. From a private collection. See 
illustration. 

Outstanding figure with strong sculptural feeling; has been compared to 
work of Chinese. Pompous, controlled grace. Fine rounded neck, head 
drawn in, short ears up, straight mane and forelock in relief, wide nerv- 
ous eyes, very round nostrils. One foreleg lifted high. Tail broken off. 
Unlike many modern stylized animals, with strained tightness in their 
affected poses, this horse gains rather than loses in dignity by the for- 
mality of his pose. Cast from same mold as No. 133. Both found near 
Boston. 

123. Gull. Hammered tin. From a private collection. 

Vivid, realistic interpretation of bird just alighting. Neck turned, power- 
ful wings half spread, tail down, in effort to balance body on small ball. 
Squawking. Made from many small pieces soldered together. 

1 24. Horse and jockey. Stamped copper. From a private col- 
lection. See illustration. 

Strong, exciting representation of racer. Head straining forward, ears 
laid down, both front legs leaping in air, tail flying. Jockey riding as 
if part of horse; standing in short stirrups of light racing saddle, he grips 
horse with legs and holds reins high, urging him on. Horse rounder and 
more sculptural than many sheet metal figures. No superfluous detail; 
eyes and ears only suggested; adds to impression of speed and tenseness. 
Pose with both hind legs on ground, not realistic like those of other 
horses, but creates effect of shooting ahead with no waste motion. 

125. Horse with flowing tail. Front half cast. Back stamped. 
From a private collection. 

Sharp, simple stylization of jaw and mane. Thin legs, restrained motion, 
lighter feeling than cast iron horses. No. 1 22 and No. 1 34. Curves more 
crisp, flatter body. Wide, flat tail with jagged lines to indicate wavy hair, 
decorative. 

126. Cow. Head cast. Body stamped. From a private collection. 

Good head, patient and calm. Fine horns and tail. Short legs. Delicate 
modeling of body, thin at throat, soft and fuller at sides. Relaxed curves. 
Remarkable contrast in spirit between repose of cow, head hanging for- 
ward, body sagging, and certain tenseness in heads and bodies of alt of 
the horses. 



78 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

127. Formal rooster. Painted iron. Evidently cast from the same 
mold as No. 142. From a private collection. 

Proud chest, one foot lifted formally. Interesting stylization of short 
rounded comb, breast and wing feathers. Large tail, cut from flat piece, 
highly arched. 

1 28. Gabriel blowing his trumpet. A similar iron weather vane, 
from the Baptist Church in Whitney, Vt., was reproduced 
in Antiques for December 1930. From a private collection. 

Heavy iron silhouette, crude, almost violently energetic. Flies as if 
swimming through air in hot pursuit, one foot kicking high. Rugged 
features. Wears only crenelated crown and wings. One hand holds long 
trumpet which he blows, other, large and threatening, points ahead. 

129. Reindeer. Iron. From Pennsylvania. From a private col- 
lection. 

Simple silhouette. Modern in style. Head held high and drawn back, 
great horns like long branch. Short tail curving forward. Stiff legs with 
no suggestion of ground below, as if leaping through air. Reindeer 
always popular in German decoration. 

130. Indian. Iron. From Pennsylvania. From a private collec- 
tion. 

Silhouette. Lunging forward, drawing his bow. Large feather head- 
dress. 

131. Pheasant. Iron. From Blue Mountain, Pa. From a private 
collection. See illustration. 

Silhouette with flowing outline. Sharp head, open beak, lobe shaped 
body, glorious sweep to tail, drooping feathers of which are separate 
pieces attached. Large pierced hole for eye. Wood farmer, No. 21, 
formerly rode astride him. 

132. Mercury. Early iron weather vane from Newburyport, 
Mass. Lent by the Boston Antique Shop. 

Silhouette, heavily painted. Small head, long body, little motion though 
one foot raised. Winged hat, wavy hair showing below. Carries usual 
purse in one hand and caduceous in other. 

133. Pigeon. Hammered copper. Lent by the American Folk 
Art Gallery. 



Erect, buoyant. Small pointed head held high, wings raised, wide flat 
tail, knees snapped back, proudly poised. Separate devices indicate breast, 
wing and tail feathers. Large, decorative arrow below. 



METAL WEATHER VANES 79 

134. Horse. Cast iron. Evidently from same mold as No. 122. 
Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

Flowing tail cut from flat iron. 

135. Horse and sulky. Stamped and gilded. From a private col- 
lection. 

Horse has iron head, small for body. Jagged mane blowing, eyes bright, 
mouth a little open. Neck long for body giving impression of energy; 
slight turn of head suggests swaying motion of fast trotting horse. Hind 
quarters lower than front as if from pull of cart. Straight thin jockey 
with iron head and stamped metal body. Holds rein and whip. Wire 
spokes and carriage rods. Horse copied from Currier and Ives print of 
race-horse Ethan Allen. 

136. Crowing cock. Hammered copper. From Monmouth 
County, N. J. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

Head thrust out, beak wide open showing tongue, wings raised, whole 
body straining forward. Flat, cut-out comb, wattle and tail. Back of 
arrow ribbed in manner similar to arched tail and comb. Decorative 
stylization of feathers. Stiff legs. 

137. Liberty. Hammered metal. Evidently adapted from Bar- 
tholdi's statue. Found in the Penobscot Valley, Me. Lent 
by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

Long, sharp, sad profile: questioning, arched brow; drooping eye. 
Uplifted right arm bears torch with blowing flame. Crown with high 
jutting points. Simple folds of ample draperies reach to ground with 
little suggestion of motion. A still and quite dignified figure, not heavy 
in spite of voluminous garment. 

1 38. Small iron horse. From the valley of the Potomac. Lent by 
the American Folk Art Gallery. 

Lovely, formal silhouette. Graceful arch to long neck, tiny pierced hole 
for eye, one foreleg raised, other stiff and extended with knee snapped 
back as if daintily pawing the ground. Beautifully curved back. 

139. Painted iron locomotive. Lent by the American Folk Art 
Gallery. 

Silhouette. Probably from a railroad station. Makes decorative pattern 
with clear-cut outline of stack, whistles and bell, lightened by open spaces 
of windows of engineer's cab. lower spokes of wheels and bars of cow- 
catcher. 

140. Horse and sulky. Stamped and gilded. Lent by the Ameri- 
can Folk Art Gallery. 

Horse similar to No. 146. Both small adaptations of Currier and Ives 
print of horse Ethan Allen, known to weather vane trade as Ethan Allen 
Jr. Small iron head high, body erect, mane and tail flying. Light and 



80 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

swift. Space between hoofs and bar of vane give appearance of hardly 
touching ground over which he is dashing. Jockey, with sidewhiskers 
and short jacket more jaunty than No. 135, looks as if thoroughly enjoy- 
ing himself. Unfinished inside of legs shows how sheet metal figures 
look before being soldered together. 

141. Cow. Stamped and slightly gilded. Lent by Stefan Hirsch. 

Smaller and flatter and head a little lower than No. 126 but like it in 
relaxed lines, short legs, stillness and self-sufficiency. Gold leaf almost 
worn off. 

142. Formal rooster. Painted iron. Evidently from same mold 
as No. 127. Lent by C. A. Rogers. 

143. Large iron horse. From Pennsylvania. Lent by C. A. 
Rogers. 

Silhouette. Continuous flowing rhythm in outline. Heavy grace. Jog- 
ging carefully. High arch to neck and powerful hind quarters. 

144. Very small horse. Tin. Found in Pennsylvania. Lent by 
C. A. Rogers. 

Silhouette. Heavy body, thin legs, nose in, flying mane, bushy tail. 
Sharp outline of mane and barb of arrow similar. 

145. Tan and black horse. Painted iron. Lent by C. A. Rogers. 

Silhouette. Simple, childlike version. Heavy type but not awkward. 
Mane and tail and hoofs painted black. 

146. Trotting horse. Cast lead head, stamped copper body. Lent 
by Albert Duveen. 

Like No. 140, known as Ethan Allen Jr. Light, sure, quick. Neck high, 
held back, keen eye, mane and tail blowing. Far legs doubled well under. 
Distance above rod adds to effect of briskness. 

147. Grey horse. Stamped from die made about fifty years ago. 
From Rockland, Me. Lent by Mrs. B. K. Goldsmith. 

More sculptural feeling in this and No. 124 than in other sheet metal 
figures. Long legs, motion in every part of body, though looser and less 
controlled than No. 146. Large, realistic lead head, straining forward. 
Exaggerated length of hind leg and tail; hind quarters lower than front, 
increase illusion of effort. From front and back, curves of body suggest 
slight sideward swing in gait of large trotting horse. 



MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS 81 

CATALOG OF MISCELLANEOUS OBJECTS 

148. George Washington. Cast iron garden figure. From a pri- 
vate collection. 

Cast in two pieces. Wears toga over late 1 8th century costume, of which 
shoulder and arm are shown. Part concession to classical tradition of 
clothing in Roman garb statues of statesmen. Aloof expression, set 
mouth, haughty bearing. Scroll in one hand; other holds toga in place. 
Drapery well done; thin, flat and simple. A youthful, cast iron figure 
of Martha Washington has been seen in a garden with a figure from 
same mold as this. 

149. Dog's head. Cast iron hitching post. From a private col- 
lection. 

Glum. Nose distinctly divided from mouth gives almost human look. 
Contour of soft, rounded back and chest, neck and chin stuck sadly for- 
ward, more human than canine. 

150. Horse's head. Cast iron hitching post. Lent by the Ameri- 
can Folk Art Gallery. 

Spirited head with solid feeling. Quite stylized. Large, round eyes, 
powerful, erect neck wide at base, waving mane parted and hanging on 
both sides. Short, alert ears, snorting nostrils with ring in each. 

151. Horse's head. Cast iron hitching post. From a private col- 
lection. 

Less stylized than No. 150. Slight arch of neck, curving in at base. 

152. Small horse. Cast iron doorstop. Lent by C. A. Rogers. 

Cast in single mold. Realistic. 

153. Duck. Painted cast iron garden ornament. From a private 
collection. 

154. Striding man. Brass doorstop. From Pennsylvania. From 
a private collection. 

Vigorous figure. Handle above hat. 

155. Painted cast iron pigeon. From Pennsylvania. Architec- 
tural ornament for fences or houses. From a private collec- 
tion. 

156. Pair of cast iron pigeons. From Pennsylvania. Architec- 
tural ornaments. From a private collection. 



82 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

157. Horse. Cast in brass for bootblack stand. Lent by Wood 
Gaylor. 

Much simplified; fine decorative feeling without being stilted. Remark- 
ably like an early Greek horse of bronze in Metropolitan Museum. Only 
three legs shown and no superfluous details. Slow, forward pushing 
motion. Dignified, alert, reserved; simple, branch-life form rising from 
back and holding foot rest does not detract from figure of horse. 

158. Horse. Cast in iron for bootblack stand. Found in Newark. 
Lent by Miss Margaret Jarden. 

Almost identical with No. 157, but slight variation in molds. This one 
has mane, tail made in one piece with body, and foreleg which touches 
ground is thinner and less scroll-like. 

159. Devil bootjack. Cast in brass. Found in Massachusetts. 
From a private collection. 

Simplest, flat, curving outline forms. Tall horns shaped like horseshoe to 
grasp heels of boots. Diabolic smile, hands on hips, toes out. Sprightly 
figure, suggestive of African in vigorous simplicity and conventional- 
ization of forms. Perhaps the surprising presence of such a personage in 
New England, where he was shunned with such zeal, may be accounted 
for by the fact that he would have to be stepped on every time he was 
used. 

160. Lady cookie mold. Tin. Found in Pennsylvania. Lent by 
Holger Cahill. 

Germans have the art of pleasing children. The custom of celebrating 
Christmas with a lighted fir tree, now the most joyfully anticipated sight 
of the year for children, is said to have been introduced into this country 
by Hessian soldiers during the Revolution. The name Kindergarten is 
still retained for the promising introduction to school life developed by 
sympathetic German educators. Youngsters the world over have been 
made happy with German toys. And with characteristic kindliness 
housewives often took pains to bake cookies in humorous and fantastic 
shapes, as delightful to imaginations as to palates. 

161. Horse cookie mold. Tin. From Pennsylvania. From a 
private collection. 

162. Thirteen small cut-out tin patterns. From Pennsylvania. 
Lent by Holger Cahill. 

Possibly patterns for backs of cookie molds. Man, baby, bunny, flowers, 
cheerful looking birds with large round eyes, dogs and horses with 
turned up noses and wide, curving legs. 

162A. Two tin silhouette birds. Lent by M. A. Chase. 



WORK IN METAL 83 



FIRE-MARKS 



Fire-marks arc emblems of identification for insured buildings, 
first used in England in the late 1 7th century, and in the United 
States in 1752. 

In the 17th and 18th centuries there were no municipal fire 
companies in England. When the idea of forming fire insurance 
companies first came into use, each insurance company employed 
its own brigade of firemen. Since these companies were interested 
in protecting only the houses insured by them, each had its own 
insignia which it attached to the fronts of insured houses. If fire- 
men arrived at a burning house not marked with the insignia of 
their company, it is said that they returned calmly to their other 
duties, leaving the house to the mercy of others. 

In America the first fire companies were made up of volunteer 
citizens. Insurance companies often had a favorite fire brigade to 
whose support they contributed and whose members were there- 
fore anxious to cooperate with them. 

The first American fire insurance company, of which Benjamin 
Franklin was one of the founders, was called "The Philadelphia 
Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire". 
It is still in existence. Because of its insignia, see No. 1 63, it became 
popularly known as the "Hand in Hand". When, in 1784, this 
company decided to insure no houses with trees close by, some of 
the citizens resigned in indignation and formed a new company. 
They took for their symbol a green tree. Early plates from this 
company, in which a lead tree is mounted on a wood shield, and 
later ones made of cast iron, are shown in the exhibition. 

The custom of using plates was continued by some of the old 
companies well into the 1 9th century. 

CATALOG OF FIRE-MARKS 

163. The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of 
Houses from Loss by Fire. Popularly known as the "Hand 
in Hand". America's first insurance company, established 



84 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

in 1752 and still in existence. 18th century mark, lead on 
wood. Lent by Harrold E. Gillingham. 

164. The Fire Association of Philadelphia. Incorporated in 1820 
and still in business. Lent by Harrold E. Gillingham. 

165. The Baltimore Equitable Society. Established April 1794. 
Iron plate about 1839. Lent by the Free Library of Phila- 
delphia. 

166. The Firemen's Insurance Company of Baltimore. Estab- 
lished in 1826. 19th century mark. Lent by the Free Li- 
brary of Philadelphia. 

167. Firemen's Insurance Company of Pittsburg. Established in 
1834. Discontinued after great fire in 1845. From house 
built in 1 840. Lent by the Free Library of Philadelphia. 

168. Associated Firemen's Insurance Company of the City of 
Pittsburg. Established in 1850. A unique cast iron figure. 
Broken when removed from wall and mounted on wood to 
preserve. Only American mark showing fireman. Lent by 
the Free Library of Philadelphia. 

169. Penn Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburg. Lent by the 
Free Library of Philadelphia. 

1 70. United Firemen's Insurance Company of Philadelphia. Es- 
tablished in 1860. Lent by the Free Library of Philadel- 
phia. 

171. Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia. Established 
in 1784. Mark known as the "green tree". Lead on oval 
wood shield. Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum. 

172. Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia. Established 
in 1784. Mark known as the "green tree". Lead on wood 
shield. Shield not original. Lent by the American Folk 
Art Gallery. 

173. United Firemen's Insurance Company of Philadelphia. 
Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

1 74. Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia. Established 
in 1784. Mark of the "green tree". Cast iron. Lent by 
Albert Duveen. 



WORK IN METAL 85 



IRON STOVE PLATES 



These rectangular cast iron plates, generally about two feet square, 
formed parts of the first house-warming stoves used in this coun- 
try, similar to a type prevalent in northern Europe in the 17th 
century. The first were no doubt brought here by the Germans 
who came to Pennsylvania to escape religious persecution early in 
the 18th century. They were made in several furnaces in Penn- 
sylvania, and possibly in New Jersey, until about 1760; but since 
the English preferred the sight of the open fire, their use seems to 
have been confined to the Germans. 

Benjamin Franklin in his fireplace pamphlet of 1 744 describes 
them as follows, "The German stove is like a Box, one side want- 
ing. 'Tis composed of five iron plates scru'd together and fixed 
so that you may put Fuel into it from another room, or from the 
Outside of the House. 'Tis a kind of oven reversed, its Mouth 
being without, and Body within the Room that is to be warmed 
by it . . .". These stoves generally connected with the jamb of the 
open kitchen fireplace, so that hot embers from the fire could 
easily be thrust in and raked out. They had no smokepipe or 
front opening and therefore neither smoke nor sparks could escape 
into the room. They must have been raised from the ground on 
some kind of legs, at least in front, but whether these legs were 
of pottery, iron, or blocks of stone masonry is not known. Later 
a six-plate stove with a smoke pipe and front opening was devel- 
oped, and since this had a back, it did not have to stand against 
the wall. Both types were used only for heating, the open fire- 
place in the kitchen being used for cooking. 

The front and two sides of each stove were decorated, the top 
and bottom plain. Though there were a few allegorical subjects, 
the upper panels of almost all of the early plates illustrated Bibli- 
cal scenes, and generally the verse from which the scene was taken 
was inscribed in lower panel in old German. Sometimes the date 
of manufacture also appeared. Staunch followers of the Reforma- 



86 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

tion, these first German settlers believed with a child-like faith, 
and told their stories with a child's directness and disregard for 
superfluous detail. The sincerity of their work makes it appeal- 
ing as well as amusing, and in spite of the naivete of conception 
and crudeness of drawing, the plates have dramatic spirit and 
sound design. There is some difference in the styles of examples 
in the exhibit. The Cain and Abel, No. 1 75, is the most delicately 
designed. Joseph and Potiphar's wife, No. 181, and the Publican 
and the Pharisee, No. 1 79, are both heavily drawn, and all three 
are set in a vaulted and curtained background. In the Swarm of 
Bees, No. 186, all of the relief work is simply blocked out. These 
early pictorial plates are the freshest and most vigorous; after 
about 1753 they gradually gave way to a symbolical floral design 
which was used almost entirely between 1756 and 1760. The 
last record of the making of a five plate stove is dated 1768. 

Pennsylvania was originally an English colony, and there 
were English ironmasters at the head of most of the early fur- 
naces. It is thought that they imported German pattern carvers 
to design stoves for the German settlers, similar to those in the 
fatherland. The original patterns were carved on wood, gen- 
erally in two pieces screwed together. The pattern makers some- 
times worked at home, selling their designs to various furnaces. 
A survival of a 1 7th century craft, the pictorial work gradually 
died out with the passing of the old German pattern carvers and 
the new improvements which the foundries offered. 

For a long time loose plates had been found in Pennsylvania in 
junk heaps or in use, often face downwards, as hearthstones, 
doorsteps, stepping stones, firebacks, and it was generally thought 
that they had originally been cast as firebacks. The research of 
the late Henry Chapman Mercer, who spent years piecing together 
information on the subject, finally revealed their original function. 
His fine collection is now on exhibit in the Museum at Doyles- 
town, Pa., which he founded, and his book, The Bible in Iron, 
gives their history and describes all the plates known to him. 



WORK IN METAL 87 

CATALOG OF STOVE PLATES 

175. "Cain Killed his Brother Abel". Dated 1741. Bucks 
County. Probably cast at Durham Furnace. Lent by the 
Pennsylvania Museum of Art. See illustration. 

Delicately drawn. Background of festooned arcade gives effect of stage 
setting. Cain and Abel clad like Scottish Highlanders. Tiny figure of 
Cain advances ferociously, huge club raised over head in preparation for 
terrific blow; Abel comes lightly forward awaiting impact with hands 
outspread in resignation or gentle protest. Behind him is tree of Garden 
of Eden; below, inscription. Graceful foliated scrolls form border of 
scene, and surround cartouche with date in lower section. An Adam and 
Eve scene, similar in style and having the same date, was probably carved 
by the same mold maker; said to be only other plate so delicately done. 

176. The Four Horsemen. About 1760. Lent by the Pennsyl- 
vania Museum of Art. 

Clearer casting of this plate reveals three angels hovering in the air above 
two hills, down which ride two pair of horsemen toward each other. 
Dressed in costume of about 1750. 

177. "History of Susanna and Daniel". First half of 18th cen- 
tury. Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. 

From square house of Susanna's father, at left, winds path to "the fair 
garden joining unto his house", described in book of Susanna. Susanna 
stands in small round pool, and two bearded elders in flowing robes, 
having emerged from hiding place, attack her. On either side are large 
trees by means of which the upright young Daniel later proved them 
guilty of having maligned the innocent Susanna, when he questioned 
them before the assembled people. 

178. Decorative plate. About 1760. Cast at the Elizabeth Fur- 
nace, Lancaster County, belonging to Henry William Stie- 
gel. Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. 

Familiar vaulted canopies of pictorial plates in upper section. Beneath 
left arch, fluted circlet enclosing heart and tulip leaves; under left, flower 
pots growing tulips, balanced by lozenges and sheaves of wheat. Indi- 
vidual motives scattered through field. Central panel bears maker's given 
names instead of verse or moral of earlier floral plates. Surname may 
have appeared on another side of stove. Name of furnace in lower 
medallion. 

Similar designs were made at many furnaces after 1753. Though 
tulips and hearts were also used in fractur paintings, significance of this 
particular pattern and reason for its repeated use between 1 750 and 1 760 
not explained. Floral patterns were more carefully carved than the pic- 
torial plates, and were used on both the five and six plate stoves. 

Stiegel, about whom many legends exist, is better known as the 
maker of some of the finest early American glass. 



88 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

179. Publican and Pharisee. 1742. Lent by the Pennsylvania 
Museum of Art. 

Vaulted canopies and waving curtains above. The Pharisee kneels osten- 
tatiously before lighted altar; humble Publican "standing afar off and 
not so much as lifting his eyes unto heaven". Above his head printed 
name Publican. Essentials, but nothing more. Inscription "The proud 
Pharisee glorifies himself in prayer, but the heart of the humble Publican 
pleases God much better. Luke, Chapter 18. 1742". 

180. Samson and Delilah. 18th century. Lent by the Pennsyl- 
vania Museum of Art. 

Setting similar to that of Publican and Pharisee but center column divides 
two scenes. Right shows Samson when he "took the gates of the city 
and the two posts and went away with them, bar and all". Artist has 
conscientiously included "bar and all", but Samson here leaves crumbling 
column behind. At left buxom Delilah, seated in chair, holds shapeless 
mass representing Samson; from behind waving tree a man approaches 
stealthily, shears in hand. Inscription "When at last Delilah learned how 
to overcome Samson's strength, she brought him to it on her lap. The 
book of Judges, 16". 

181. Joseph and Potiphar's Wife. 1749. Lent by the Pennsyl- 
vania Museum of Art. 

Emerging from behind curtains of canopied bed Potiphar's wife grabs 
with anger and determination at cloak of departing Joseph, who, clad 
also in box coat, knickers, and socks, clutches at mantle with one hand, 
while blithely waving other in intended gesture of protest. Square head 
facing forward; small feet springing quickly toward doorway, indicated 
by column and curtain with large tassel. Jubilance in mien probably to 
signify righteous indignation. Inscription "The woman who seeks to 
corrupt Joseph. In the first book of Moses, 13th Chapter." 

1 82. The Peaceable Kingdom. Lent by Albert Duveen. 

Edward Hicks, Quaker preacher, painted several versions of "The 
Peaceable Kingdom, an illustration of the Eleventh Chapter of Isaiah and 
Embracing All the Animals There Mentioned in the Foreground, and 
in the Distance William Penn Treating with the Indians." Plate illus- 
trates same subject, without Hicks' addition of William Penn and In- 
dians. Panel at top inscribed, "Better time is coming when all war is 
ended"; four lines below, worn and dim with age, refer to 6th and 7th 
verses of Isaiah XI. Wandering between, with no background, are ani- 
mals therein described. 

183. Hunter with deer. Lent by Albert Duveen. 

Possibly a fireback. Inscription at top, "Here is a hunter on the search." 
Below, simple, stiff frieze in which a deer precedes a hunter followed by 
dogs. Between figures, small circular devices; under feet of each, a rod- 
like line, which, though intended to suggest ground, makes them look 
as if on skis. 




No. 131. WEATHER VANE. PHEASANT 
Iron Silhouette. Length. 30 1 ' inches 



STOVE PLATES 91 

184. Dance of Death. About 1745. Lent by Albert Duveen. 

Theme, representing triumph of death over mankind, appeared in 
Europe in many versions during 14th century and thereafter. This said 
to have been taken from "Nobleman's Answer to Death" at Basel. 
Inscription, 

"Here fights with me the bitter death 
And brings me in death's stress". 
Skeleton holding leg bone in one hand, lays hold of fat knight with coat 
like Russian blouse, and 16th century slashed breeches on little legs. 
Victim brandishes sword in dispute with helmeted man on right who 
gesticulates with his square hands. Scroll work instead of columns at 
left and top. 

185. Two doves. 1769. Lent by the American Folk Art Gal- 
lery. 

Two birds on scraggy trees, facing each other. Date in cartouche below. 

186. The Swarm of Bees. Lent by the American Folk Art Gal- 
lery. 

Unusual since humorous rather than religious. From right three female 
figures wearing full square skirts which nearly touch the ground, walk 
down a hill, looking upwards and ringing bells. On lower right branch 
of tree at foot of hill hangs swarm of bees; on other side, man with cap 
and knee-length coat appears to be clapping his mittened hands. Instead 
of standing out in relief as in Joseph and Pharisee plates, folds are dug 
into the blocked skirts of figures. No date or inscription. Scroll in lower 
panel instead of cartouche. 



POTTERY AND PLASTER 
ORNAMENTS 

In the first half of the 19th century ceramic "cottage ornaments" 
were fashionable in Europe and America. Small rustic figurines, 
animals and sometimes portraits were turned out by the potters 
of England, France and Germany, and there was a good market in 
this country especially for the English work. When the potteries 
growing up in this country attempted figures, they sometimes im- 
ported workers from England to do the modeling. Among the 
best known for such wares were those at Bennington, Vermont, 
which, besides vases, pitchers, Parian figures, and toby jugs, made 
animals similar to those from Staffordshire. Makers of slip ware 
in Pennsylvania also turned their hand from time to time to the 
fashioning of toy roosters, peacocks and animals, frequently in the 
form of whistles. The products were sold at the potteries or more 
often hawked about by peddlers, traveling in carts or on foot. 

Less known than the products of any of these potteries is the 
cruder, thin plaster or "chalk" ware of the Pennsylvania Ger- 
mans. Made between the fifties and seventies, the figures generally 
followed closely the Staffordshire designs which they imitated. 
The majority represented familiar animals — deer, cats, dogs, 
horses, squirrels, roosters, doves and lovebirds. For more pre- 
tentious homes, vases with stiff leaves, and urns of fruit were 
made. Rustic figurines and healthy angels were also popular. 
There were a few large white churches with windows of sheer 
colored paper, through which the light of candles shone at Christ- 
mas. Small arched shrines with an angel kneeling under the arch 
had a round opening at the top in which a watch could be hung. 
Portrait busts were rarest. 

Like the pottery and practical household wares, these figures 
were hawked about by the shrewd and humorous Yankee peddler. 
Old residents of South Jersey remember seeing these peddlers 
going from door to door carrying trays filled with gaily colored 



94 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

birds, cats and dogs. Others say that the men sometimes brought 
molds with them so that the housewife might make her choice and 
then see the figure cast and painted while she waited. 

Many of the plaster figures were not entirely covered with color 
but only touched with a few daubs of bright paint, and animals 
cast from the same mold appear in a variety of colors. The sim- 
plified stylization of some of the animals, especially the deer, cats 
and roosters, makes them seem modern. The animals have more 
vitality than the human and heavenly beings who, though pleas- 
ant enough, tend in attitude and expression toward the soft and 
saccharine. 

The deer were often made in pairs, generally lying on the 
ground with one foreleg gracefully arched as if in alert readiness 
to move on. They have large spiky horns, and large splashes of 
black on their noses. The smaller ones are dainty, with a superior 
and supercilious air; the light tan pair and the white one, No. 191. 
illus., are especially good in this group. The roosters, splen- 
didly colored in red, yellow and green, look chunky because of 
extra material left around their legs, No. 190, illus. The squir- 
rels sit up contentedly crunching nuts, their handsome tails curv- 
ing above their heads. The chests of rabbits are sometimes em- 
blazoned with green, red and gold; their backs left white, No. 
190, illus. There is a tendency to sentimentalize in the case of 
the two horses which are extremely gentle and graceful. Poodles 
and spaniels, popular in the fifties, are the dogs most frequently 
represented; the least realistic ones are the most successful. The 
lovebirds are generally bright yellow. Though varied in color 
and personality, the sleek cats are all in a similar pose, their thin 
legs close together in front, black tails curling over comfortable, 
rounded haunches. The large creamy one with black spots has 
an orange ribbon around her neck matching the inside of her ears, 
and twenty toes with black nails have been carefully represented. 
There is a Chinese slant to her eyes, but in a quiet way she is an 
imposing looking creature. The expression of the small white 



POTTERY AND PLASTER ORNAMENTS 95 

cat whose long eyebrows give her a wise and smug look explains 
why a certain type of narrow minded human has been named after 
the species. 

Among the religious figures the most appealing is the amiable, 
earnest little angel who, on one knee, her hands tightly clasped, 
peers up with a frightened look, No. 190, illus. The tall lady 
with the white mantle, bare feet and bowler hat cocked at a 
rakish angle, is a candleholder, No. 191, illus. The girl with 
pantalettes, and the seated boy with the dove are reminiscent of 
the pastoral scenes of contemporary velvet paintings. 

The portrait bust of a young officer is the most finished piece. 
With thick black hair brushed back, highly arched brows, eyelids 
drooping in a blase manner, and uniform emblazoned with full 
regalia, he was no doubt a dandy, and well pleased with himself. 

Though most of this work was done by the Germans of Penn- 
sylvania, others are known to have made plaster figures. Very 
similar figures have been found only near Waldoboro, Maine, also 
settled by Germans. Italians from Lucca are said to have peddled 
plaster busts of famous people, in New York and Philadelphia. 
And in Boston in 1768, one Henry Christian Geyer, stonecutter, 
advertised that he had opened a shop where he practiced the "Art 
of Fuser Simulacrorum or making of all sorts of curious animals 
of Plaster of Paris", and two years later he had added to his stock 
"all sorts of images in Plaster of Paris including King George, 
Queen Charlotte, Milton, Homer . . ." etc. 

The chalk ware of the Pennsylvania Germans was the cheapest 
available form of ornament. It is thought that the largest piece 
hardly came to the price of a Staffordshire figure, and the small 
animals sold for fifteen or twenty-five cents. In homes where 
English porcelain was a luxury beyond reach, the housewife could 
yield to her weakness for bright touches of color without seriously 
affecting the family finances. 

Good collections of this ware are owned by Mr. and Mrs. Elie 



96 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

Nadelman of Riverdale-on-Hudson, and Mrs. Robert W. 
De Forest of New York City. 

CATALOG OF POTTERY FIGURES 

187. Whistle. Figure of a peacock. Pennsylvania German slip 
ware, late 18th century. Possibly by John Nase. Lent by 
the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. 

188. Lion. Pennsylvania German, early 19th century. Possibly 
by John Nase. Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. 

189. Cock and hen. Late 18th century. Pennsylvania German. 
Lent by the Pennsylvania Museum of Art. 

CATALOG OF PLASTER OR CHALK WARE 

1 90. Seventeen figures. Lent by Mrs. O. N. Steelman. See illus- 
tration. 

191. Six figures. From a private collection. See illustration. 

192. Four figures. Lent by the American Folk Art Gallery. 

193. Two figures. Lent by Holger Cahill. 



A NOTE ON STONE CARVING 

The local stonecutters of the last two decades of the 1 7th century 
and first half of the 18th, lavished great effort on the carving of 
gravestones; in the old churchyards and burying grounds of the 
east, fine examples of their art may still be seen. The tops of the 
flat stones are adorned with relief carvings of lively cherubs, skulls 
and crossbones, hour glasses and other symbols of death, and 
coats of arms; the sides often have wide and elaborate floral bor- 
ders. The lettering of the quaint epitaphs is often excellent. 

Towards the middle of the 18th century the carvers sometimes 
substituted the face of the deceased for the customary cherub's 
head, and from then on many scattered portraits were made. They 
are more apt to appear in country graveyards than in the city. And, 
since then as now, people were wont to imitate the habits of their 
neighbors, if one portrait is found in a burying ground there are 
generally more. It is known that William Codner, a stonecutter 
who worked around Boston in the middle of the 1 8th century, 
did some portrait work, though he excelled in the more conven- 
tional versions of the victory of death over life. The Park family 
who came from Scotland about this time, carved some of the best 
gravestone portraits. 

Continuing the tradition of the cherubs, human heads were 
sometimes fitted into feathered necks and wings. Frequently how- 
ever their own costumes were shown. Some reverend gentlemen 
wear ecclesiastical robes, and their long hair is beautifully curled. 
The men often lack necks, the resulting hunched effect of their 
shoulders emphasizing the intensity of their faces. Each of three 
stones in Plymouth represents the deceased, dressed in the cos- 
tume of the day, emerging from a tomb shaped like a chimney 
top. The faces of the men are generally very round and solemn. 
One charming girl in Salem wears a locket and a close fitting dress, 
her long hair hanging over her shoulders; and the carver has done 
his best to give her a winsome smile. 



98 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

Mrs. Harriette M. Forbes, who has made a thorough study of 
the subject, and from whose well illustrated article, Early Por- 
trait Sculpture in New England, these notes are taken, has 
kindly lent from her collection, thirty photographs of old grave- 
stones, many of them showing portrait work. Among her pic- 
tures, the profile of Mrs. Sarah Wier, and the four sons of Mr. 
Appleton and Mrs. Lydia Holme are outstanding for their 
dignity. Others show Adam and Eve, symbols of death, an excel- 
lent ship, and a person who may be God reaching out and calm- 
ing turbulent waves. Though the portrait work is crude, it reflects 
earnest effort and patient labor, and frequently a fertile imagina- 
tion on the part of these early carvers, and, once again, a simple, 
robust vitality characteristic of so much unsophisticated work. 



~P&bim&*^~-*^ 



j&&m&.-<~- i 



^iwmjM^ 







No. 175. STOVE PLATE. CAIN AND ABEL 
Cast Iron. Height, 27 inches; width, 26 inches 






CHALK WARE FIGURES. 3 FROM No. 190; 2 FROM No. 191 

Angel, Lady. Heights, 7} 2 and 16J: inches. 

Rooster. Rabbit. Deer. Heights. 6' 4 . 5 ' 4 and 10J: inches. 



READING LIST 

Books and periodical articles selected by the Newark Museum and 
The Public Library of Newark, New Jersey. 

AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE: GENERAL 
REFERENCES 

American folk art. By Holger Cahill. American Mercury, Sept. 
1931, Vol. 24, pp. 39-46 

Practical book of early American arts and crafts. By H. D. Eber- 
lein and Abbot McClure. Lippincott, 1916 740.1 Eb3 

Introduction good. 

Chap. 4 Decorative metalwork: Iron, brass, copper, lead, and tin. Weather 

vanes, stoveplates, fire-marks. 

Chap. 14 Early American wood and stone carving 

Beginnings of sculpture in colonial America. By Fiske Kimball. 
Art and Archaeology, June 1919, Vol. 8, pp. 185-189 

Earliest sculpture imported to this country and first well-known American 
sculptors 

Collection of papers read before the Bucks County Historical 
Society, Vol. 4. Pub. for the Society by Frackenthal Publica- 
tion Fund, 1917. 4 V. 974.3 B85R 

A few papers on Pennsylvania German pottery and stoveplates 

The Red Hills. A record of good days outdoors and in, with 
things Pennsylvania Dutch by Cornelius Weygandt. Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania Press. 1929 700 W54 

WOOD CARVING AND WOOD CARVERS 

SHIPS' FIGUREHEADS 

Nadelman ship figureheads. International Studio, Sept. 1929, 
Vol. 94, pp. 51-53 

Figureheads of the old Square-riggers; a unique set of photo- 
graphs by Edith S. Watson with explanatory text by Victoria 
Hayward. Century, Aug. 1916, Vol. 92, pp. 566-573 

Old sea wings, ways and words in the days of oak and hemp. By 
R. C. Leslie. Chapman & Hall, 1890 699 L56 

English. Chaps. 10 and 1 1, brief history of figureheads 



104 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

Old ship figureheads and sterns. By L. G. C. Laughton. Halton, 
1925 R736L362 

English, well illustrated 

Drowne's wooden image. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. Bound 
with his Mosses from an Old Manse. Houghton, 1889 

Story of a figurehead maker 

Smile of fortune. By Joseph Conrad. In his Twixt Land and 
Sea. Doubleday, 1912 

Illustrates sentiment of captain toward figurehead 



CIGAR STORE FIGURES 

Passing of the wooden Indian. By J. L. Morrison. Scribner's 
Magazine, Oct. 1928, Vol. 84, pp. 393-405 

Tobacconists' tribe of treen. By L. F. Jessup. Antiques, Sept. 
1930, Vol. 18, pp. 232-235 

Hunting Indians in a taxicab. By Kate Sanborn. Badger, 1911. 
In N. Y. Public Library 

Well illustrated 

Lo, the wooden Indian. By F. W. Weitenkampf. N. Y. Times, 
Aug. 3, 1890, p. 16, col. 1. In N. J. Historical Society Library 
Methods of carvers and styles of Indians 

Social history of smoking. By G. L. Apperson. Putnam, 1916 

178 Ap4 

English. Chap. 15, Tobacconists' signs 



WEATHER VANES 

Old American weather vanes. By E. B. Allen. International 
Studio, Mar. 1925, Vol. 80, pp. 450-453 

Describes well known early American weather vanes (metal and wood) 

"And joy, a vane that veers." Antiques, Dec. 1930, Vol. 18, 
p. 482 

Note and illustration of iron vane similar to No. 128 

Candledays. By M. N. Rawson. Century, 1927 917.3 R192 

Mention of weather vanes in Chap. 1 3 



READING LIST 105 



EAGLES 

Eagle motive of the federal era; wooden eagles of New England 
coast towns. By Nancy Cooper. House Beautiful, Nov. 1927, 
Vol. 62, pp. 552, 606 

DECOY BIRDS 

Barber, Joel. History of American decoys. N. Y. Derrydale 
Press 

To be published in fall of 1932 

TOYS 

Playthings of the past. By A. V. L. Carrick. Antiques, Jan. 
1922, Vol. 1, pp. 10-16 

Primitive invasion. Antiques, July 1931, Vol. 20, p. 13 

Describes a primitive Noah's ark 

WOOD CARVERS 

The Wood Carver of Salem. By Cousins and Riley. Little, 
1916 728 C83 

See also NOTE at end of list 

Some carved figures by Samuel Mclntire. Bulletin of Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, Aug. 1923, Vol. 18, pp. 194-196 

Ornaments for furniture and garden 

William Rush, earliest native-born American sculptor. By W. 
Jordan. Art and Archaeology, June 1921, Vol. 1 1, pp. 245-7 

A Philadelphia sculptor: William Rush. By E. L. Gilliams. Lip- 
pincott's Magazine, Aug. 1893, Vol. 52, pp. 249-253 

Early American wood sculpture. By Henry Branscombe. Inter- 
national Studio, Oct. 1927, Vol. 88, pp. 61-64 

Rush and Mclntire 

And the pursuit of happiness. Antiques, July 1923, Vol. 4, p. 9 

Note describing a carver of eagles 

John Welch, carver. By M. L. Brown. Antiques, Jan. 1926, 
Vol 9, p. 28 

Maker of the "sacred codfish" of Boston 



106 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

Schimmel, carver of a menagerie. By Helen McKearin. N. Y. 
Sun, Nov. 16, 1929, p. 35, cols. 1, 2, and 3. In New York 
Public Library- 



Lord Dexter of Newburyport : The voice of the people. Antiques, 
Mar. 1923, Vol. 3, pp. 107-108 

Note on Dexter and his estate 

METAL 

History of the manufacture of iron in all ages. By J. M. Swank. 
Phila., Pub. by the author, 261 South Fourth St., 1884 

Descriptions of many early American furnaces 

FIRE-MARKS 

Fascinating fire-marks. By H. E. Gillingham. Antiques, Dec. 
1923, Vol. 4, pp. 277-280 

American fire-marks. By H. E. Gillingham. Phila., Privately 
printed, 1914. In the Museum Library 

STOVEPLATES 

Bible in iron. By H. C. Mercer. Doylestown, Penn., Bucks 
County Historical Society, 1914 R 739 M53 

Standard book on stoveplates. Many plates carefully described and illustrated 

Portrait in iron. By C. M. Stow. Antiquarian, June 1930, Vol. 
14, pp. 29-31 

Stiegel as maker of stoveplates 

Cast iron stoves of the Pennsylvania Germans. Bull, of Penn. 
Museum, Apr. 1915, Vol. 13, pp. 19-22 

MANUFACTURING METHODS IN METAL 

Though describing modern methods, text books such as Practical Mould- 
ing, by S. J. Parsons, Routledge, 1923 (671 P251) and Foundry Practice, 
by J. M. Tate and M. O. Stone, Wiley, 1909 (672 Tl 8) give a good idea 
of the sand mould process which was used in early cast iron work. 

Plain and Ornamental Forging, by Ernst Schwarzkopf, Wiley, 1916, 
(68 2 Sch9) describes methods similar to those used by early smiths. The 
section on Forging in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th, 12th and 13th 
editions, Vol. 10, explains the distinction between forging and founding, 
page 663, and describes the method of die forging, used in the making of 
many of the sheet metal weather vanes, pages 665-666 



READING LIST 107 

POTTERY AND PLASTER ORNAMENTS 

POTTERY 

Pottery and porcelain of the United States. By E. A. Barber. 
Putnam, 1909 738B2317 

Early American pottery and china. By John Spargo. Century, 

1926 738S P 221 

Early American folk pottery including the history of the Ben- 
nington pottery. By A. H. Pitkin. Hartford, Conn., Privately 
printed, 1918 R 738 P682 

PLASTER 

Plaster ornaments for collectors. By Mr. and Mrs. G. G. Gould. 
House and Garden, Aug. 1929, Vol. 56, pp. 84, 122 

Eighteenth century cottage ornaments. By Mr. and Mrs. G. G. 
Gould. House and Garden, May 1930, Vol. 57. pp. 124, 
142-148 

Describes 19th century work 

STONE 

Early portrait sculpture in New England. By H. M. Forbes. Old 
Time New England, Apr. 1929, Vol. 18, pp. 159-173 

Old gravestones described and illustrated. Also mentions plaster work 

THE PERIOD OF AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

Provincial society, 1690-1763. By J. T. Adams. Macmillan, 

1927 973.2 Ad 1 

Hawkers and walkers in early America. By Richardson Wright. 
Lippincott, 1927 394 W93 

The Yankee peddler and other wayfarers of the 19th century. Peddling of 
plaster figures described on page 60 

Weather vanes and sea-chests: Salem 1626-1926, a city of treas- 
ures. By Katharine Butler. House Beautiful, July 1926, Vol. 
60, pp. 45, 82, 84 

Picture of old Salem 



108 AMERICAN FOLK SCULPTURE 

Down to the sea in ships. By I. W. Anthony. Penn Pub. Co., 
1924 656 An8 

Includes good descriptions of seaport towns in the days of the Yankee clipper 

The Clipper Ship era. By Arthur H. Clark. Putnam, 1910 

387 C54 

Famous sailing ships and their builder Donald McKay. By R. C. 
McKay. Putnam, 1928 699 M19 

Germans in colonial times. By L. F. Bittinger. Lippincott, 1901 

973.2 B54 
German element in the United States. By A. B. Faust. Hough- 
ton, 1909 973F27 Vol. 2 

Proceedings and addresses. Pennsylvania-German Society, Pub. 
by the Society, 1900 974.8 P38 11 Vol. 10 

Detailed account of life and work of the Pennsylvania Germans 

Rise of the common man, 1830-1850. By C. R. Fish. Macmil- 
lan, 1927 973.5 F52 



NOTE: Just how much of the work formerly attributed to him Samuel 
Mclntire was actually responsible for, is a matter now open to question. In five 
articles published in Antiques from November 1930 to March 1931, Fiske 
Kimball brought the information up to date. As the result of further research, 
Mabel M. Swan questioned many of his attributions in two articles in Antiques 
for November and December 1931. In the January issue Mr. Kimball weighs 
the evidence. 




University of 
Connecticut 

Libraries 




39153021016185